President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration has been faulted for defying Ombudsman’s directives to remove Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) Chief Executive Officer Henry Kachaje and National Oil Company (Nocma) deputy chief executive officer Helen Buluma from their positions.
The Ombudsman Grace Malera nullified the appointment of Kachaje in November last year after finding that he did not have the required master’s degree at the time he was being offered the job. On the part of Buluma, Malera in September this year found that procedures were not followed in her appointment process.
The Nocma board through its chairperson, Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba, said it will not remove Buluma since her appointment was clean.
While Malera told the board to treat Buluma’s appointment as if it never happened, Zamba said that Nocma will pay Buluma all her terminal benefits including gratuity in relation to her three (3) year employment contract which ended on 25th August, 2022 on the basis that she rendered full service to company on the said contract. The board also gave Buluma a four-month contract which ends in December this year,
The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has since faulted Chakwera and his administration for continued attempts to undermine the Constitutional office of the Ombudsman.
HRDC chairperson Guft Trapence added that it is sad note that several months after the Ombudsman’s determination on Kachaje, the MERA CEO is still in his office
“We look at these troubling machinations by the government as blatant attempts to undermine democracy and a sad reminder of the one-party authoritarian regime where democratic institutions were stifled completely,” HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence said in a statement.
Speaking to the local media, chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament Peter Dimba wondered why Zamba has defied the directive to fire Buluma saying the Nocma board should complied with the directive or should have gone to court if it wanted to change the directive.
Meanwhile, Malera has reported the government’s defiance to Parliament for further action against the Nocma board.
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