Malawi rights body queries Mutharika on terminating jobs

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has criticised President Peter Mutharika dismissing innocent public servants for no crime other than the fact that they served in his predecessor’s government which raise serious human rights implications and threatens the integrity of the public service.

The taxpayer-funded Commission said in a media statement signed by its chairperson Sophie Kalinde that some dismissals Mutharika has made in “a manner that did not meet the requirements of procedural and substantive justice”.

MHRC said Mutharika’s recent appointments and dismissals, in particular those at the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) where the commissioner general and his deputy were both replaced, raise serious human rights implications and threatens the integrity of the public service.

Kalinde:  MHRC faults Mutharika
Kalinde: MHRC faults Mutharika

The President replaced MRA commissioner general John Biziwick with Ralph Kamoto who had just been hired as chief executive officer for the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera). Biziwick’s deputy, Crispin Kulemeka, has been replaced with former MRA director of policy planning Roza Mbilizi.

Mutharika fired the two public officers despite still having substantial length of time to serve under their contracts. For instance, Biziwick’s contract was running up to May 30 2016.

“The commission reiterates the position it took in 2012 on this trend that the dismissals and removals of public officers from office in this manner raises serious implications for human rights guaranteed in sections 43 and 31 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi on the right to administrative justice and fair labour practices, respectively,” said MHRC, adding that such dismissals are seen as politicisation of the public service and public office.

The commission further recalled that previously many officers from public institutions such as MRA, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), among others, have often found themselves subject to non-meritorious as well as unprocedural and unlawful removals from office on the change of government from one political party to another.

MHRC has since called on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government to demonstrate total commitment to the translation of the rhetoric to the public service reformation into reality.

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