The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has written the Office of the Ombudsman (OoO) to investigate the alleged illegal appointments of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) for several government parastatals.
In a letter dated November 11, 2021, and signed by its Chairman, Gift Trapence, the HRDC says following the Ombudsman’s recent investigative report on the alleged unprocedural and irregular recruitment of the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) Chief executive officer by the Board, HRDC calls upon her (Ombudsman Grace Malera) to take a proactive approach “by widening the net and probe all parastatals executive recruitment that have been made since the Tonse Alliance Government took over”.
“The findings of the investigative report on the recruitment of the Chief Executive Officer at MERA is a serious red flag and has exposed lapses in governance systems within parastatal Boards where due diligence has been wantonly disregarded amidst allegations of nepotism and cronyism in the public sector, a thing HRDC has highlighted in its recent statements.
“HRDC believes in fairness in the recruitment processes in public entities, hence our request for your honourable office to probe all the recruitment of parastatal Chief executives to ascertain whether due recruitment processes were followed, whether there was no political influence, favouritism of whatever kind for some candidates, whether the candidates recruited have the pre requisite qualifications based on the institutional policy requirements for such positions,” reads the letter.
It says HRDC believes that it is only after vetting these appointments that the public will be able to place faith in the processes and to believe in the professionalism of the parastatals Boards.
“We trust on your unwavering resolve to the good governance of this nation as a public protector,” concludes the letter.
Meanwhile, the Malawi Law Society (MLS) and HRDC have joined the court case involving MERA and the Ombudsman concerning the publication of the investigative report, which contains grounds for the nullification of Henry Kachaje as MERA’s CEO.
The Ombudsman is challenging the injunction obtained by MERA stopping her from releasing the report. MLS and HRDC will be joining the case as friends of the court in support of the Ombudsman.
MLS President Patrick Mpaka neither denied or confirmed the development but said the MLS was closely monitoring the developments. Trapence, on the other hand confirmed HRDC is joining the case in support of the Ombudsman.