Sunday, May 26, 2024

Chakwera’s rule of law on track Ombudsman Gains Independence in Law Amendment

Malawi Minister of Justice, Titus Mvalo

Malawi’s President, Lazarus Chakwera, pledged to uphold the rule of law and enhance good governance for the nation. He has continued to fulfill this commitment by granting prosecutorial autonomy to the Anti-Corruption Bureau. Additionally, he has extended this freedom to the Office of the Ombudsman by eliminating obstacles that previously impeded its effective functioning.

Ombudsman Act has been amended and the key feature in the revised legislation is the liberty the Ombudsman’s office will enjoy from previous forms of interference. The  amendment bill provides explicit clarity regarding the functions and powers of this office.

Notably, it grants the Ombudsman the authority to independently conduct investigations into pertinent matters, a new addition to its scope of functions.

Part of the bill reads: “This will be done by aligning the functions and powers of the Ombudsman with the broad jurisdiction and mandate conferred by Section 123 of the Constitution; enhancing the powers and functions of the Ombudsman generally to ensure the effective discharge of its mandate conferred under Section123 of the Constitution.”

Another important element in the amended bill is the provision for the protection of whistle-blowers, something which was conspicuously lacking in the past.

Commenting on this positive development, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs was in all praise of lawmakers for passing this crucial bill, saying that the amendment will enhance the functionality of the Ombudsman office.

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