Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee (PAC) is this week scheduled to meet in Lilongwe to shortlist candidates for the position of the Ombudsman, its chairperson Joyce Chitsulo has said.
In an interview on Monday, Chitsulo said after the shortlisting, which is expected to be done in a day, PAC will then decide on when they can conduct interviews for the position.
The Office of the Ombudsman fell vacant in May following the appointment and subsequent confirmation of Martha Chizuma as Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general.
Chizuma assumed her position at ACB on June 1 this year.
According to Chitsulo, the scheduled meeting, which she said will be held this weekend, also pointed out that apart from the Ombudsman issue, PAC is expected to discuss a wide range of issues.
However, she was non-committal when asked about the other issues PAC is expected.
Said Chitsulo: “We will be meeting to discuss a number of issues and one of the issues that we are expecting to discuss is the shortlisting of candidates that have applied for the position of the Ombudsman. So a decision will be made from there.”
When asked how many candidates have applied since the position was advertised in the local press, Chitsulo asked for more time, saying she needed to talk to Clerk of Parliament (CoP) before responding.
In an interview yesterday, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace national coordinator Boniface Chibwana, said they anticipate that PAC will not politicise the short listing process and that it will ensure that Malawians get the best from the process.
He said: “The previous holder of the office left a mark of excellence characterised by high standards and the expectations of the public are high.”
Human Rights Defenders Coalition chairperson Gift Trapence said they expect PAC to shortlist candidates who are qualified and experienced.
“This can only happen if the committee carefully scrutinises the track record of the candidates ,” he said.