Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to carry out a comprehensive review of the Code of Ethics for public officers to revive a moral ethical conduct being a precursor for efficient, effective and professional public service.
Chilima has also encouraged the Ombudsman to remain strong and continue to carry out its mandate as a public protector.
The Office of the Ombudsman was established by Parliament and is mandated by Section 123 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi to investigate acts of maladministration perpetrated by government officials and institutions.
Thus, the Office represents the interests of Malawians by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration and violation of human rights, among others.
In his Facebook post after meeting Ombudsman Martha Chizuma on Wednesday, Chilima observed that the institution has repositioned itself not only as an investigator of cases of injustice, but has also embarked on systemic investigations to remedy various injustices that Malawians are subjected to.
“The Ombudsman has identified areas of legal reform, which if implemented would remove disparities which exist between the Republic Constitution and the Ombudsman Act as regards to mandate, function and enforcement of determinations.
“During the same meeting, we also suggested for the Ombudsman to carry out a comprehensive review of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers to revive a moral ethical conduct being a precursor for efficient, effective and professional public service,” he said.
“Overall, I have encouraged the office to remain strong and continue to carry out its mandate which is to represent the interests of Malawians by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration and violation of human rights, among others,” added Chilima.
The Vice President also engaged the Director General of the graft-busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Reyneck Matemba, and their discussion centered around the progress of the reforms the bureau is undertaking.
Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, also sought to appreciate new reform areas that are aimed at making the graft busting body independent and effective.
“From the start, I encouraged the bureau to come up with reforms that will indeed make them independent and effective in carrying out their work. I assured them that that is the wish of His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, President of the Republic. The President is committed to having an ACB that is apolitical and truly independent,” he said.
Chilima said to this effect, they discussed a number of areas that need reforming, top on the agenda being the review and amendment of the Corrupt Practices Act.
“The review and the subsequent amendment will form the basis of making the bureau independent in its operations, enhanced asset recovery, and speeding up investigations and prosecutions.
“In essence we discussed a number of issues to make ACB more effective with motivated staff who will not be worrying about political interference. It is high time we had an ACB that is supported by both political will and public will. For the public will, I told the Director General that they will have to earn it by being effective,” he explained.
Chilima–who before joining frontline politics in 2014 worked as the first Malawian managing director for multinational Airtel Malawi– wrapped up his day by engaging Rosemary Kanyuka who is the Commissioner for the Malawi Law Commission – mandated to review and make recommendations relating to the repeal and amendment of laws.
The Commission is working on two reform areas one of which is to reduce the law reform process to ensure speed and efficiency except for legislation that is contentious or sensitive that require wider consultations.
The second reform area for the Law Commission focuses on institutional restructuring in a bid to avert the high attrition rate that the Commission has.
“We will be engaging with the Ministry of Justice and other relevant stakeholders for a way forward on the matter as well as many other legislation amendment reforms raised by various Ministries and Departments to ensure that archaic laws do not hinder progress and service delivery,” said Chilima.
He noted that a similar complaint that all the three constitutional bodies raised was the issue of inadequate as well as delayed funding which they said heavily paralyse their operations.
“I assured them that the Ministry of Finance is working on funding modalities and very soon such issues will be a thing of the past,” said Chilima.
The public sector reforms were launched in 2015 and Chilima was the first to champion the reforms before he was replaced.
Likoma legislator Ashems Songwe said youths are key in the Covid-19 national response.
He said there are plans towards helping the youth acquire different skills to make money and venture into their own businesses.
“We, therefore, hope mHub will create an opportunity for the youth in the district,” said Songwe.
Asante Mankhokwe, a youth, thanked mHub for the initiative.
“Youths in Likoma lack several opportunities such as loans and entrepreneurial skills because many organisations from the mainland do not wish to extend their programmes on the island,” she said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :