Some civil society organisations (CSOs) have accused President Peter Mutharika of lacking moral, professional integrity and commitment to empower women in the country.
But government has dismissed the CSOs, saying they should stop “poking their nose into every issue” in the country.
The CSOs accusation follows recent promotions in the Malawi Police Service (MPS) as well as appointments to foreign missions and the board of the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) that the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) announced on Monday.
According to a government statement on Monday evening, Mutharika has appointed Glad Chembe Munthali as High Commissioner to Tanzania, Jafalie Mussa as Ambassador to Kuwait and Perks Ligoya as Ambassador to the United Nations (UN).
Munthali has replaced Hawa Ndilowe, whose new position has not been made clear, while Ligoya has replaced Necton Mhura, who died last month.
Mussa has replaced Wilfred Ali while Mpinganjira takes the place of Ligoya.
Mutharika has also appointed Rodney Jose as acting Inspector General (IG), Duncan Mwapasa as Deputy IG (Operations) and John Nyondo as Deputy IG (Administration), whereas Thomson Mpinganjira has been tasked to chair the Escom board.
All the seven are men, and according to the CSOs, violates the Gender Equality Act which stipulates appointing of not less than 40 percent and not more than 60 percent of either sex in public service.
In a statement yesterday, the CSOs, that include the Human Rights Defenders Forum, Centre for the Development of People (Cedep), Centre for Human Rights and rehabilitation (CHRR) as well as Youth and
Society, asked Mutharika to suspend all the appointments because they are not gender balanced.
“At a time when we are advocating for 50:50 representation, we find it very disappointing and hypocritical to have no face of a woman in all the appointments Mutharika has made.
“This is even against the fact that the President himself is a champion of He-for-She campaign which aims to see women elevated. To us, this is a clear indication that Mutharika and his administration
are not serious about women empowerment in this country,” reads the statement in part.
According to the CSOs, Mutharika’s Cabinet, which has very few women, is a clear example of a government which is not serious about women empowerment.
In the statement, the CSOs have also condemned the President for appointing Jose as acting Police IG, saying he is a suspect in the 2011 murder for Malawi Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa.
Adds the statement: “We seriously want his appointment suspended immediately before it even goes to Parliament for approval. Going by how parliamentarians betrayed Malawians in the Electoral Reforms Bills and the recent K4 billion scam, we can no longer trust them.”
The CSOs argue that the current crop of legislators does not have the interests of Malawians at heart and are unpredictable when it comes to representing Malawians on issues of national importance.
According to the Chasowa Inquiry report, Jose, then a Commissioner for Southern Region, was instrumental in linking Chasowa and his group to police authorities in trying to foil the July 20 2011 demonstrations.
But in an interview yesterday, government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said the CSOs should not be poking their nose into every issue in the country.
He said: “There are over 528 CSOs in the country, and if Mutharika, a duly elected president, listens to each one of them, then there will be no President in this country.
“On the issue of Jose, let them be reminded that the only arm mandated to interpret the law is the Judiciary. CSOs have no legal mandate to do that. Do they want to take over the power of the Judiciary? Let them stop poking their nose into everything.”
But the CSOs have warned that failure to suspend the appointments will result into the issue being added on the agenda of the planned April 27 nationwide demonstrations.
Other CSOs that have signed the statement are Knowledge of the Laws of the Land (Knoll), Citizens Forum for the Defence of Good Governance, Civil Society Network Transparency and Accountability, Child Rights Information and Documentation, Outreach Scout Foundation (OSF) and Phunzirani Development Organisation. n