BY DEOGRATIAS MMANA
A few months after Martha Chizuma, then in her capacity as Ombudsman, nullified positions said to have been filled internally at Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera), another parastatal is going along the same path.
Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has called for internal applications to fill positions whose holders were coincidentally fired by the same Ombudsman.
Interviews are scheduled from June 21 to 24 and offer letters being made on June 28 and the appointed employees are expected to report for new duty posts on July 1, 2021.
Macra spokesperson Clara Ngwira said in filling up the position, her institution was simply complying with the Ombudsman’s determination.
She also said it was not necessary to compare Macra with Mera as the two have different policies.
Said Ngwira: “We wish to point out that the Ombudsman considers cases for institutions in line with their facts, laws and internal policies. So don’t compare Macra with Mera for the two have different facts, laws and policies.”
Ngwira further said: “It was the Ombudsman’s findings that Macra internal policies advocated for internal adverts and further provide for situations where external advertisements were applicable.
“It was therefore, her findings that Macra had been doing recruitments contrary to this policy. She further directed that the recruitment of the positions she nullified be done in accordance with our governing internal recruitment policy.”
But Director of Centre for Research and Consultancy Milward Tobias said it is strange that an institutional policy can have supremacy over a determination by the Office of the Ombudsman which is believed to have been based on the law.
And a senior lawyer working in the civil service said yesterday that this is now bringing confusion.
The lawyer said “it is not true that once you are a public institution you must advertise externally. It depends on the terms and conditions of service of that public institution, and also the nature of the positions to be filled.
“My understanding is that there are certain positions in Macra that you start with internal recruitment. You only go out to advertise if you fail to recruit internally. Check with Macra if these positions fall in that category,” the lawyer added.
Early this year, Chizuma, who is now at Anti-Corruption Bureau, accused Mera of employing people through internal recruitment process.
Her determination reads in part: “But even outside this it should be kept in mind that Mera is a public institution and not a private organization belonging to its current employees. As such any opportunities arising in it should be available to the general public.”
She nullified several positions.