The office of the Ombudsman in Malawi has cried foul over erratic financial resources which is said to be affecting its principal functions hence yielding reduced output, principal investigations officer (PIO) Arthur Semba has disclosed.
The Ombudsman office was established by an Act of Parliament 20 years ago to help in among other key issues, settling unfair labour related cases in the public service.
In an interview, Semba who doubles as public relations officer (PRO), said the office needs enough financial support if its objectives were to be realised.
“We must admit that unreliable financial resources are negatively affecting our operations. Since its establishment in 1996, the body only operates in four regional offices. This makes Ombudsman inaccessible to some victims,” he said.
However, Semba appealed to Malawians to use the only available structures to seek redress when injustices are believed to have affected them in any way.
He further said that investigations stall for some time due to financial challenges, a development which has since registered rebuke from the infringed parties.
“It’s unfortunate that sometimes some clients have been worried with delays in handling cases, leading them to doubt our competence in discharging our duties. This erodes trust and confidence in the concerned individuals, especially when their cases were technically appealing for a quicker determination from the Ombudsman,” Semba expressed.
According to the PRO, masses of people at the grass roots do not know the office of the Ombudsman and its core values due to lack of connection and.
“Currently, we have resorted to involving the National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) to complement us on several areas as they are well established. This will help us inform the locals of our presence and the assistance they can get,” said Semba.
He observed that the popular knowledge on the objectives of the office of the Ombudsman will help in curbing a lot of injustices currently taking place in public and private labour sector saying: “People need natural justice.”
According to the Ombudsman office, unfair dismissals, unfair treatment and punishments in the labour industry toll the highest cases registered at their offices, signifying violation of human rights at work places.
The office of the Ombudsman has its offices in Mpico House in Mzuzu to cater for the North, St Martin’s House in Lilongwe for the Centre, Balaka in the East and Kanabar House in Blantyre for those in the South.