Malawi’s Ombusdman Martha Chizuma had just released a damning report into unprocedural, nepotistic, tribalistic and irregular recruitments at the Malawi Communications Regulatory (MACRA), ahead of her confirmation appearance before the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of Parliament for the job of Anti Corruption Burueau (ACB) director.
This report was not a first, she had previously made hard-hitting revelations into abuse of office at the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority and the abuse of COVID-19 funds, to sample a few. In the reports, she recommended strong action that in some instances included firing of the officers involved.
To sum it all, she stole the hearts of most Malawians who have been dying to see government take a strong aim at nepotism or any sort of favouritism in offering employment, promotions in government departments and institutions that draw from the public purse. Malawians were clearly placated by her nonsense approach to dealing with maldministration and impunity.
And so, when Chizuma successfully sailed through tough interviews for the job of Malawi’s top corruption buster at the ACB, the view was she was only taking her fight to help government clear the rubble to a higher echelon.
But alas PAC had other ideas, they rejected Chizuma with some funny, nonsensical scores. To Malawians, the politics behind it all did not matter, what mattered was that Parliament was not interested in taking the fight against corruption further. The feeling was that they had some skeletons in their cupboards and were afraid she would take the corruption fight to their doorstep.
From the foregoing it is clear that the timing was wrong, considering that it was the same PAC that found her suitable for the position of Ombusdman.
While we appreciate that Parliament is a political institution, the thought is not lost on us that they are in August House on trust, on behalf of Malawians. That reality should never be superceded by political inclinations.
The hope is therefore that the House will remedy this and save itself further embarrassment, blushes and the wrath of Malawians.