By Wezzie Gausi
The Natural Resources Justice Network (NRJN) has asked the government to employ permanent staff at the Malawi Environmental Protection Authority (Mepa) as, currently, the institution depends on staff from the Environmental Management Affairs Department, which is against the law.
The Mepa Board has acknowledged the anomaly.
The Environmental Management Act of 2017 provides, in Section 13, for the creation of a secretariat for the authority.
It stipulates that the secretariat shall consist of the director general (DG) and other employees of the authority, subject to provisions of the Act.
However, NRJN Chairperson Kossam Munthali has said this is not the case at the moment.
“Players in the environmental management sector are worried that, since the institution was established in 2017, the government has been flouting the law by allowing its officers to manage the affairs of Mepa.
“The laws are very clear; the institution is supposed to be a stand-alone institution. We want to understand why officials from the Environmental Management Affairs Department are working for Mepa. This has been happening against the law and we want the practice to end before this year ends,” he said.
Mepa Board Chairperson Robert Kafakoma acknowledged the issue.
He said the institution failed to employ permanent staff due to financial challenges because the government was not providing funds.
“Funds have since been provided to us and, by April 2022, we will employ permanent staff at the institution. We will start by filling top positions and all other positions will be filled by the end of 2022,” Kafakoma said.