|Law Commissioner Gertrude Lynn Hiwa|
Clarification from the Malawi Law Commission (MLC) on the imbalanced representation of women in the recent appointment of Commissioners for the 6th Cohort of the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), suggests Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations are themselves to blame.
The remarks from MLC, comes amid outcry that there is only one woman in the current list of Commissioners for MHRC.
Bertha Msefu, Reverend Patrick Semphere and Baldwin Chiyamwaka are the newly appointed Commissioners who join Commissioners; Benedicto Kondowe, Dalitso Kubalasa, Justin Dzonzi and Steven Mkoka.
Last week CSOs released a press statement which declared that gender equality and women inclusion was missing the appointments of Commissioners of MHRC.
The human rights defenders, also wrote President Peter Mutharika as final authority that endorse and swears in Commissioners, asking him to withdraw the nominations to allow new process start over again to include two more women from the existing list.
However, MLC on Tuesday explained to the press that all processes to appoint new Commissioners for MHRC was duly followed and that relevant NGOs submitted their nominations of persons to be Commissioners.
“The Law Commissioner and Ombudsman sent out the request to the concerned NGOs and other bodies that are relevant for nominating members that should be considered for the position of members of the Human Rights Commission.” Clarified Commissioner Gertrude Lynn Hiwa
“In the end, the Law Commissioner and Ombudsman being facilitated by the Secretariat of the Human Rights Commission went through the processes as set out by the law, taking into the regard of the provisions of Human Rights Act, the Constitution and the regulations that are made under the Human Rights Act.
There is a set criteria that we took into account and this is a process that is both objective, transparent and quite comprehensive” she explained
|Hiwa: the out come is what CSOs presented|
“The outcome is a sign of what we had to work with. There were factors that were beyond our control so that although as Law commissioner we are aware of Gender Equality Act provision there was nothing that we could have done but to go through with the process as is provided by the law” she said
Hiwa then said president who is the appointing authority had only fulfilled his mandate by appointing the names that were before him.
Although the Law Commissioner, noted that the calls by concerned CSOs for more women representation were valid, but she also indicated that in the reading of the law, there is no reversal to the decision that was made.
However, she proposed that in future, it would be better that those institutions making nominations for commissioners should ensure that they are nominating women to achieve gender balance.
She also said in due course as provided by Malawi Human Rights Act sub section 4, the Commission will publish names of institutions that were asked to submit nominations, those who submitted and who they nominated just to let people know exact reason why one woman was appointed.