Mutharika appoints new MHRC commissioners: Activists hail Malawi leader for social inclusion, women representation

President Peter Mutharika has appointed the seventh cohort of 10 commissioners  to the  taxpayer-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) after  the rights watchdog submitted proposed names to his office.

Dr Sunduzwayo Madise appointed commissioner in MHRC
President Mutharika appoints Massah (r) as Commissioner in MHRC

According to statement from Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara seen by Nyasa Times, confirmed the appointment of law expert Dr Sunduzwayo Madise and agronomist Boniface Massa, the  executive director of Association of People with Albinism (Apam) as new commissioners .

The statement also confirms the retention of  previous commissioners, notably  media consultant Baldwin Chiyamwaka and  Dr Bertha Sefu.

Other commissioners appointed include  Stella Twea, Scader Louis and Rev Cecilia Kotima.

The appointed commissioners will serve for a three-year term of office in line with Section 5(1) of the Human Rights Commission Act [Chapter 3:08 of the Laws of Malawi].

The new commissioners are expected to elect a chairperson from one of them at their first meeting after being sworn into office.

The seven are joined by two ex-officio members from government, the Law Commissioner and Ombudsman.

The law requires MHRC to invite proposals from the public for nominations of those to serve as its commissioners and submits the list of proposals to the president for appointment.

Activist and law expert Habiba Osman writing on social media also said she is “pleased” with the balanced selection of the new commissioners.

“A great selection by the appointing authority,” she posted on her Facebook wall.

Governance expert and commentator Makhumbo Munthalo  commended President Mutharika for ensuring that “women are ably represented”.

Besides,  Munthali said the President’s  appointment has also ably taken into consideration issues of  “social inclusion” by including a person with albinism as a Commissioner.

“This is commendable. In terms of competence, it’s important to note that the majority of those appointed have a demonstrated good track record,” said Munthali in an interview with Nyasa Times.

However,  he pointed out that it will be critical to see  whether government shall provide  a conducive environment to ensure that the Commission works without any political interference and any obstacle.

“Already the Commission has all along complained of under funding  which has crippled its operations to fulfil its mandate.

“Again, leadership in terms of the person who will be the new chairperson of the Commission will also matter. History has shown that where you have had progressive and courageous chairpersons such as it was with John Kapito the Commission has made much progress in protection, promotion and respect of human rights,” he said.

Munthali said  the public expectation of the new rights Commission is that it will be able to deal with issues of albinism head on as well as remain steadfast in monitoring the May 21 watershed elections in terms of protection, promotion and respect of human rights related to polls.

In terms of composition, the law as well as applicable international standards demands that there should be diversity in the commission. Thus, membership is drawn from NGOs, the academia, religious institutions, professional bodies, among others, that are wholly or largely concerned with promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

As an autonomous institution, MHRC is guided by the values of non-partisanship, loyalty to the Constitution, independence in operations; fairness and impartiality, transparency and accountability as well as integrity.

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3 years ago

Good move! However, much as I personally appreciate the appointment of Boniface Massah, I see it as a campaign gimmick to woo sympathy votes from the disabled fraternity. Where has APM been all these past years? He has been busy looting, looting & looting while fattening his own belly. Let us just accept this long overdue appointment but when time comes to cast our votes, we should vote wisely & not be fooled by these appointments!

Kent Y.G. Mphepo
Kent Y.G. Mphepo
3 years ago

Congratulations to the State President for appointing a well-balanced team to this important commission! Congratulations team for making it to this important body! God bless.

3 years ago

Thats APM we know. Boma limenelo 2019

3 years ago

That’s Peter Mutharika The Professor

john chirwa
john chirwa
3 years ago
Reply to  Noxy

pa Bornface Massah mwalasa bwana he is a good Leader, isaaaa enawoo abalubwaubwa

3 years ago
Reply to  john chirwa

Ahaha Wawa anijo Marist n bunda woyee…bwana Boniface amatiimilira heavy

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