Malawi President Dr Lazarus Chakwera has warned the newly sworn in Malawi Human Rights Commissioners against complacency, familiarity and rolling back of the progress made in as far defending and upholding the rights of the people without political interference or intimidation is concerned.
“The members of the Eighth Cohort of Commissioners of the Human Rights Commission which were sworn in are Viwemi Chavula, Teresa Chirwa – Ndanga, Andrew Kavala, Bonface Massah, Sunduzwayo Madise, Scader Louis, Chikondi Chijozi, The Law Commissioner and The Ombudsman.
Speaking during the swearing in ceremony Chakwera had three pieces of advice for them.
“First, I urge you to keep it up. You have heard the saying that familiarity breeds contempt, and you must be vigilant against that common mistake. Do not become so familiar with your position that you begin to lose sight of your privilege to occupy it. Do not become so familiar with your task that you begin to be complacent in your execution of it. And do not become so familiar with the state of human rights in this country that you begin to take the rights we enjoy for granted or begin to pick and choose which human rights you are going to attend to. You must keep up the good work, keep up the pace, and keep up the good fight,” said Chakwera.
“Secondly, I urge you to keep the faith. There are always challenging circumstances that make the work you do difficult, but that is no reason to lose faith in the success of your work or efforts. There are always challenging relationships between you and other institutions or offices you must work with, but that is no reason to lose faith in the necessity of finding solutions to those relational hurdles. There are always challenging cultural and social practices that stand in the way of the enshrinement of a culture of respect for human rights, but that is no reason to lose faith in the power of public engagement for social change. There are always challenging forces that are determined to profit from the evil of human rights violations, twisted individuals that enjoy and find pleasure in treating others without dignity, but that is no reason for you to lose faith in the power of God to defeat evil and to use you as his weapon in that evil. And there are always challenging processes in our justice system that can make the pursuit and protection of human rights a frustrating, daunting, and taxing mission, but that is no reason to lose faith in the necessity and credibility of our institutions, nor to lose sight of your responsibility to make those institutions work for the cause you espouse in a world of competing priorities.”
The President concluded:
“Thirdly and lastly, I encourage you to keep the change. There has been a lot of progress on human rights progress already, and you must not allow that progress to be rolled back on your watch. The Malawi Human Rights Commission has a history of being respected around the world and maintaining a very high grade in its performance at multilateral institutions, and you must not allow that standing to suffer relegation. And as an institution, you have a history of good governance and institutional excellence, but also a history of enhancing good governance in other institutions, and you must not allow yourself to lose your saltiness as a catalyst for change. Keep the change.”