The Ministry of Education (MoE) is the worst performing government institution in terms of respect for democratic values, human rights and rule of law, the Office of Ombudsman has revealed.
Paul Njola, regional officer (South) in the Office of the Ombudsman, made the revelations in Blantyre on Friday during a day-long training workshop for public officers.
The training drew participants from the police, ministries of Health, Education and Agriculture.
It sought to raise awareness on citizens’ rights, duties and responsibilities to effectively participate in promoting administrative justice.
Njola disclosed that a research his office conducted recently has shown that repressive practices continue to guide the activities of most public administrators, with education officials topping the list.
He said: “They [education officers] are seconded by the police with officials of Local Government and Rural Development trailing on third position while those in Agriculture and Food Security have secured the fourth place.
“The other culpable institutions are the offices of the Account General, Administrator General, Ministries of Justice, Works and Health.”
Njola explained that these institutions were found wanting in areas of maintaining professionalism when discharging their duties and making emotional decisions, especially before or when dismissing or interdicting employees.
Ombudsman’s principal research and civic education officer Felix Masekesa said government is losing millions of taxpayers’ money to compensate employees who were either dismissed or interdicted based on flimsy reasons.
“These millions could have made a huge difference to the country. But we’re losing it all to one person because some public officer was reckless in discharging his or her duties,” lamented Masekesa.
He, therefore, appealed to public officer to adhere to the rule of law, respect for human rights, good governance and democratic principles when making their administrative decisions.