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Ombudsman to fight maladministration

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The Office of the Ombudsman has said it will move away from just handling labour-related matters to being involved in fighting maladministration in the country.

Fighting against maladministration is outlined in the 2016-2021 Strategic Plan, which was launched in Lilongwe on Friday. Also launched the same day were the office’s service charter and website.

Ombudsman Martha Chizuma-Mwangonde said her office is aware of its heavy involvement in labour issues and that is why since her appointment, she initiated a repositioning agenda.

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“The agenda is all about full utilisation of the mandate of the office and improved working relationship with stakeholders. The main features of the agenda are moving from one-off complaint resolution to systematic resolution, from labour-related complaints to service delivery-related complaints, from investigations based on receipt of complaints to own motion investigations and placing the Ombudsman at the centre of good governance and service delivery in accordance with Constitution of the Republic of Malawi and the Ombudsman Act,” she said.

The goals of the five-year strategic plan include improved accountability and responsiveness in public service delivery, having a public that is aware of administrative justice processes and governance-related issues, to have fully established relationships with stakeholders and to have a strengthened institution capacity.

The Office of the Ombudsman has said it will work hand in hand with the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament. The committee’s Chairperson Maxwell Thyolera has hailed the Ombudsman’s new approach.

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“There is a great paradigm shift in the manner the office intends to investigate alleged maladministration complaints… These activities were never conducted before and carrying out these activities will result in addressing systemic issues negatively affecting service delivery in Malawi as well as addressing almost all injustices by investigating matters or instances not officially complained to the ombudsman and anybody,” he said.

Thyolera also said the committee will be inviting all controlling officers who will not be complying with orders of the Ombudsman.

“We will fully support the agenda in its totality… We will fully support the office outside and inside the chamber,” Thyolera said

About K5.5 billion will be needed in the implementation of the strategic plan.

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