Ombudsman Martha Chizuma who has continued to become “a symbol of hope, courage and professionalism” in as far as driving the crusade against impunity in the country is concerned has been awarded ‘Woman of the year’ award by Africa Gender Equality conference 2021.
Announcing the award, the conference pointed out that Chizuma is “tenacious person” especially on things she is very passionate about, such as justice and fairness.
Chizuma who also bagged the Nyasa Times person of the Year recognition in 2019 is Malawi’s best Ombudsman so far driven by a deep conviction of professionalism, patriotism, hardwork and integrity and deriving her powers and jurisdiction from Constitution in Section 120, 122(1),123, 124 (a).
She has -within the period she has been at the helm of the Office of the Ombudsman- managed to resuscitate the institution of a public protector to relevance as a governance and oversight institution through implementing progressive strategies such as the “Repositioning Agenda” – which involved shift of focus to investigating maladministration cases in service delivery.
Meanwhile, the Ombudsman in an open lecture organised by Unicaf University in Lilongwe to mark the International Women’s Day 2021, she said despite all the legal provisions Malawi has, gender inequality still remains a big concern and there is need to apply existing gender laws and deconstruct prevalent social and gender norms that perpetuate gender inequality in the country.
“We should not have any excuses on why we are failing to promote gender equality,” she said.
“A recent example being that when boards [of directors]were being appointed, the representation of women on those boards left a lot to be desired. We have the laws and we just need to have the decency and the integrity to apply them.
“The Constitution itself has enough protections and provisions guaranteeing equality for women, but hitherto we are not yet there.”
The Ombudsman said Malawi is also party to many international conventions aimed at safeguarding gender equality, but gender inequality is still prevalent because the laws are not fully applied.
In his remarks, Unicaf vice-chancellor Robert Ridley said International Women’s Day is about “recognising the many roles that women play in society and giving them the respect and supporting their empowerment that they can develop their lives and capabilities equitably with the rest of society.”
Ridley said Unicaf has an equitable open admission policy which allows any qualified woman to join the university.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :