Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Justice Minister heaps praise on civil servants

Malawi's Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Professor Peter Mutharika. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Our Reporter

Malawi’s Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Professor Peter Mutharika has commended department’s in his Ministry for performing well despite facing numerous challenges in their day-to-day operations.

Professor Mutharika was speaking in the commercial city, Blantyre during a familiarization tour on some establishments under his Ministry.

On Monday alone, the Minister visited the Ministry’s Chief State Advocate department, the department for Legal Aid, the Administrator General’s offices and the Registrar General’s department all situated in the city of Blantyre.

Professor Mutharika who was accompanied by the Attorney General Dr Jane Ansah and Solicitor General Anthony Kamanga among many other senior Ministry of Justice officials, heaped praise on members of staff working in the ministry.

In his address to the staff after touring these establishments, Professor Mutharika said it was pleasing to note that the departments were making remarkable progress in their operations despite facing numerous financial and inadequate staff challenges.

“I would like to commend you all for what you are doing in serving your government with dedication and the people of this country wholeheartedly without complaining. I would like to assure you that this current administration is development-oriented hence the need to have a hard working and dedicated civil service,” he said.

The minister added that government would do everything possible to address some of the problems raised by different departments during the tour.

Speaking earlier at the Legal Aid Department, Chief Legal Aid Advocate Arthur Nanthulu hailed the Bingu wa Mutharika government for dedicating its time to appreciate what his department was doing.

He said his department was working tirelessly in assisting people who seek free legal advice and representation due to lack of resources.

“My department here in Blantyre has got only six legal practitioners but although this is the case, our team is very dedicated,” he said.

Nanthulu disclosed to Professor Mutharika that following the team work that the Legal Aid department has, it has managed to handle over 20,000 criminal and civil cases in this year alone.

“The rural masses are the ones that flock to our department in large numbers seeking legal advice and representation,” he said.

He, however, cited inadequate personnel to capture data for processing cases and lack of legal practitioners as some of the Legal Aid’s major challenges arguing there were only 14 legal practitioners throughout Malawi working in Legal Aid department.

In his response, Professor Mutharika said government would create a special package that would attract lawyers to join the department. He admitted that most legal practitioners do not want to work in government due to the fact that they were looking searching for greener pastures in private practice and other avenues.

Taking his turn, the Administrator General Gaston Mwenelupembe, applauded the Bingu wa Mutharika administration for its commitment in improving the department’s working condition through the Minister’s visit.

He said it was only through the visit that government would be able to take note and appreciate the department’s challenges and suggest possible solutions on them.

Mwenelupembe said as at October 30, 2009, the Administrator General’s office had dealt with 5,820 deceased estates, a development he described as an improvement for its past performance.

He said currently the department was negotiating with Malawi Savings and NBS banks so that deceased estate beneficiaries should be paid electronically to avoid unnecessary errors.

Mwenelupembe asked government to fill the 100 vacant positions existing in the department saying currently there were only 57 employees across the country.

Professor Mutharika assured Mwenelupembe that government would look into the problem by recruiting more staff to work in the department

According to a senior official in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the Minister’s familiarization tours will take him to Nsanje, Neno and many other places throughout Malawi.

The official who did not want to be mentioned disclosed to Malawi Digest that Professor Peter Mutharika was unable to conduct familiarization tours soon after being appointed into cabinet in June due the Budget Session of Parliament and other pressing government issues thereafter-Malawi Digest.

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