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Somber mood in Malawi as parliament rejects legal bulldozer Martha Chizuma to head ACB

Ombudsman Martha Chizuma rejected by parliament to head ACB

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—11th May 11, 2021 will be remembered as day that Malawi lost its battle against corruption following the rejection of fearless corruption fighter Martha Chizuma by parliamentarians to head the Anti-Corruotion Bureau (ACB).

Chizuma, the popular Ombudsman, was President Lazarus Chakwera’s choice for new director general of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) after she emerged successful during the interview, beating nine men who were also vying for the position.

As per requirement, Chizuma appeared before the Public Appointments Committee (PAC), a parliamentary committee, on Tuesday to have her appointment duly confirmed, but surprisingly and contrary to citizens’ expectations, the lady has failed the interviews.

According to information made available to Maravi Post, nine members of parliament scored her 1 out 25 while the other nine scored her 25 out 25, scores that have sparked debate on the integrity of the members of the parliamentary committee.

According to some members of the Committee belong to the government argue that since the votes were tied at 9-9, there was supposed to be a tie-breaker, but Chairperson Joyce Chitsulo, who is also a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), denied to redo the scoring.

Ironically, the same Committee approved Chizuma as Ombudsman and in October last year renewed her contract on the basis of being competent.

The Tonse Alliance members of the Committee say the rejection of Martha Chizuma is a clear indication that corruption is deep-rooted in the country.

Speaking during a press briefing soon after the interview, the government parliamentarians said if the Committee does not redo the scoring, they will commence proceedings to impeach Chairperson Joyce Chitsulo.

However, social commentator Fryson Chodzi is of the view that both opposition and government sides did not want Chizuma to head the graft busting body.

“Cry Babies. MCP and Tonse Didn’t want Chizuma. It’s sad that Tonse Alliance MPs in the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) are crying for the rejection of Martha Chizuma. Let the truth be out. You can’t blame the chair or DPP for the outcome.

“DPP has only 5 members of Parliament in PAC after the seat of Vuwa Kaunda was declared vacant. The following are the members. Hon. Joyce CHITSULO (Chair), Hon Victor Musowa, Hon. White, Hon. Navicha Hon. Makande. Who are the other 4 who voted against her? Second, according to standing orders of Parliament, a person is supposed to score an average of 17 points and Chizuma scored an average of 14.5 points,” he wrote on his facebook page.

He added: “Let’s face the reality, Tonse [Mps] are the ones to blame for the rejection of Martha Chizuma and whatever they are doing in parliament and briefing the press is a face saver.”

Meanwhile, Neno South lawmaker Mark Katsonga has described Chizuma’s rejection as an assassination of the country.

Chizuma, 42, conducted investigations into abuses of public offices when she was Ombudsman.

She ordered senior technocrats at the Office of President and Cabinet, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Agriculture to issue a public apology for their handling of a $50 million (about K37 billion) loan from an Indian bank to procure tractors for rural farmers.

Chizuma also investigated how State machinery abused Covid-19 funds and unprocedural recruitments of top executives in various State agencies, including the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Defenders Coalition has announced that it will hold demonstrations on 18th May 2021 against the decision by the Parliament Committee on Public Appointment to reject the appointment of Martha Chizuma as new ACB director.

Gift Trapence , Chairperson of HRDC, said the grouping will lead Malawians to hold demonstrations at Parliament.

Trapence said HRDC has also engaged its lawyers to move the court on the matter.

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