Over 200 Ombudsman determinations dating back to 2000 not complied with
Ombudsman has bemoaned continued delays by some government institutions to comply with determinations made by the office, saying the Office currently has 241 non-complied cases dating back to 2000.
MALAWI: Ombudsman Grace Malera has bemoaned continued delays by some government institutions to comply with determinations made by the Office, saying the office currently has 241 non-complied cases dating back to 2000.
She says this means that some people have been waiting for over 20 years to get justice.
Malera was speaking in Lilongwe at the start of a consultative meeting for the review of the Ombudsman Act.
She said some provisions in the Act do not force institutions to comply with determinations, thereby defeating the whole purpose of justice.
“You can imagine that some cases date back to as far back as 2000, meaning people are waiting for justice to be served,” she disclosed.
Of the 241 non-complied cases, 88 are in Mzuzu, Blantyre has 64 cases while Lilongwe has 17 files, most of which are labour-related matters.
Malera said the issue of non-compliance to determination arises due to gaps in the enforcing laws of the country.
“Many institutions do not comply with determinations made by the Ombudsman due to gaps in the laws, as they are not taken as judgments to be enforced. Therefore, the Office currently depends on goodwill and people's moral situations to implement what the Ombudsman has determined,” Malera added.
According to the Ombudsman, the law that guides the operations of the office was passed in 1996 and various challenges have been observed over the years.
“25 years have passed since the Office was set up and demand has grown over the years from all sectors of society, which has necessitated the need to review the Act to align it with the current dispensation.”
This is the first of a series of consultative meetings that the Office of the Ombudsman will be held to solicit input on the review of the Act.
Among other things, the Office seeks to review the Act to give it powers to enforce its directives on institutions.
Other challenges the Office has faced over the years, according to Malera, include delays in compliance by some Ministries and Government Agencies to respond to correspondence and provide adequate information to the Office, and limited access to the Ombudsman by people with disabilities and inadequate staff to handle complaints.
The review process is part of the public sector reforms being championed by the Office of the Vice President.