President Peter Mutharika has appointed new commissioners for Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) following the expiry last August of the term of office for the previous team.
A statement signed by Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara said the appointment is effective March 25 2019.
In the new team, the President has retained media consultant Baldwin Chiyamwaka and Bertha Sefu and roped in law don Dr Sunduzwayo Madise, Stella Twea, Scader Louis, the Reverend Cecilia Kotima and former Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) president Boniface Massah.
The seven will be joined by Law Commissioner Rosemary Kanyuka and Ombudsman Martha Chizuma as ex-officio members who will complete the line-up.
Those left out from the previous commission include economist Dalitso Kubalasa, education rights activist Benedicto Kondowe, lawyer Justin Dzonzi and Steven Mkoka.
In an interview yesterday, MHRC executive director David Nungu attributed the eight-month delay in appointing the commissioners to the vacancy in the office of the Law Commissioner.
Section 131 of the Constitution provides that the Law Commissioner and the Ombudsman shall jointly refer names of nominees to the President to effect formal appointment.
The lack of commissioners at the taxpayer-funded human rights watchdog crippled the institution.
Nungu said the secretariat was grateful for the appointment of commissioners, especially after the names were only submitted two weeks ago.
The Constitution mandates MHRC to protect and investigate violations of human rights or any other law.
The new commissioners will elect a chairperson among themselves.
In a related development, the Office of the President and Cabinet last week announced the appointment of a new board for the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) with the Reverend Alex Maulana retaining his post as chairperson. Other members include Mphatso Gadama, Sheend Mwala, Conrad Buckle, Loyce Kantwera and Emily Banda.