A two-day Public Affairs Committee (Pac) 5+1 All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference has ended in Blantyre with delegates calling for the establishment of Public Appointments Commission as well as Financial Crimes Division of the High Court.
Politicians from the ruling and opposition parties, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), religious organizations, human rights activists and economists as well as ordinary Malawians patronized the two-day “the future of Malawi ” conference which was held under the theme ‘The State of Governance And Public Trust: Reclaiming Our destiny’.
And on Thursday- final day of the meeting- delegates including government officials were split into groups to come with suggestions which Pac will later consolidate into resolutions- proposing course of action on some of national issues raised during the conference.
Some of the pertinent suggestions made include the need to trim some of presidential powers especially on the public appointments, and the need for political will on the part of government in implementing resolutions the credible governance watchdog has been making over the years.
Presenting suggestions on behalf of government’s oversight institutions, Bright Theu of Malawi Law Society (MLS) said the establishment of the appointments commission would guarantee independence of government agencies.
Theu said the commission would be responsible for making appointments on key positions in the oversight institutions which include Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Financial Intelligence Authority, Office of the Director of Assets Declaration and Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC).
Currently it is the Head of State who is the appointing authority with Appointments Committee of Parliament acting as an endorsement office.
“The proposed Public Appointment Committee shall be made of members of the civil society organizations, Parliament, the private sector and other relevant bodies in the country. The commission shall use competitive and public process of appointing people into positions,” said Theu.
Another suggestion was on the independence of ACB with delegates calling for the institution to be depoliticized by having a centralized reporting system.
Theu said: “ACB should be reporting to the minister of justice who in the end will be presenting the reports to Parliamentary committee. Currently the bureau reports to the President, Parliament as well the ministry. But in this case, it will be answerable to the Parliamentary committee which will have powers to summon the bureau.”
On the establishment of Financial Crimes Division of the High Court, the delegates noted that having such division would ensure progress on financial crimes such as Cashgate cases which some are currently under trial.
Judges to the division will be required to compile reports to be presented to the Chief Justice every 60 days before such reports are made public.
The delegates also gave government 30 days to have former minister of agriculture George Chaponda charged of corruption crimes; that MBC should be depoliticized; end to current national-wide primary teachers’ strike; to table in Parliament electoral reform bill.
They also proposed that Pac should obtain injunction against parading of traditional leaders on MBCtv to speak against those with opposing views, and that the quasi-religious body should have special committee to oversee progress made on resolutions made.
Pac Publicity Secretary, Father Peter Mulomole said they would meet soon to brainstorm on the presented suggestions before coming with resolutions.
Mulomole expressed delight at how the conference ended, saying “we are hoping that this time around there will be a change in how the resolutions will be implemented. But we are happy that the conference ended on good note. We are all Malawians and we have to take responsibility of building this nation.”
On Wednesday self-styled activists Vincent Wandale and Billy Mayaya created tension when they tried to use the conference to push for regime changes
However, the quasi-religious body rejected and discarded the calls and demanded delegates not to use the forum to advance their political agendas.
The two-day conference ended on peaceful note as there were not controversies and violence contrary to expectations that delegates were planning to use the forum to advocate for change of government although Wandale and Mayaya tried to push for that.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :