National Advocacy Platform, a grouping of civil society organizations in Malawi, has called for immediate release of the public sector reforms report, which vice President Saulos Chilima submitted to President Dr Lazarus Chakwera in May 2021.
The report on recruitment, allowances and procurement was submitted to Chakwera at Kamuzu Palace in a closed-door ceremony.
The report is believed to have made several recommendations to the President built on recommendations of the public reform sector review programme which has been ongoing for a number of years.
Chakwera ordered the formation of the task force following revelations of abuse of Covid-19 funds, saying there was a need for the country to tackle the overarching problem of wastage and corruption in the civil service.
Other of members of the Task Force were Prof Ronald Mangani, Professor Nyovasi Madise, Dr Aubrey Mvula, Dr Henry Chingaipe, Dr Steven Matenje, Waki Mushani, John Suzi-Banda, Reverend Elsie Tembo, Tione Chilambe, Zunzo Mitole, Nwazi Nthambala and Jane Kambalame.
But months down the line, the contents of the report are yet to be made public.
Speaking during a press conference on governance and human rights in Lilongwe, Social activist, Amanda Manjolo said NAP is concerned with continued inaccessibility of the public sector reform report despite several demands by the general public.
Manjolo claimed that there is no progress on public sector reforms because of the absence of direct authority following the removal of Chilima.
The grouping also recommended functional review to maximize efficiency and effectiveness of the public service delivery and that, where necessary, excess staff should be laid off in line with prevailing employment laws.
“The government should implement performance-based contracts to ascertain the level of service delivery and the satisfaction derived.
“The President immediately release the public sector reforms report on public sector recruitment, allowances and recruitment,” said Manjolo.
The Platform also decried what they called lack of Judicial accountability and slow progress on high profile cases including those involving United Kingdom-based businessperson Zuneth Sattar and his associates.
Sattar is facing corruption charges both in Malawi and the UK where he was arrested in September 2021 by National Crime Agency (NCA) and granted bail later.
The National Advocacy Platform further said the Judiciary in the country is characterized by inadequate accountability to the public.
According to the Civil Society Organisations, under the Platform, there have been allegations about corruption, delays in delivery of judgments, and inconsistencies in determinations as well as unfettered discretion of the court.
“The current system of appointing Justices lacks transparency and accountability. More so, the composition of the Judicial Service Commission is too closed up from public participation. Judge shopping is happening at the expense of reforms on electronic case management system. The Court User Committees are defunct,” Benedicto Kondowe, NAP Chairperson.
The Platform therefore said there is need to subject the appointment of Judges to public scrutiny- the way it is done in other SADC countries such as South Africa.
The CSOs also called on the Chief Justice to enforce the Operationalization of E-case management system to ensure speedy delivery of justice as well as eradication of judge shopping.
“Judiciary in partnership with the Ministry of Justice must review the code of conduct of Judges as a means of promoting holistic consistency in service delivery and maintain integrity while curbing corrupt tendencies in the judiciary,” added human rights activists Alfred Mwanyika. There was no immediate comment from the government or the Judiciary