State-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has asked President Dr Lazarus Chakwera to immediately release the Chilima report on the review of public service.
Chakwera appointed a commission last year which was headed by Vice President to review of public service systems of allowance, employment, contracts, procurement, and on the conditions of service and restructuring.
But the report has not yet been released.
MHRC commissioner Chikondi Chijozi said while the Commission appreciates that the report was a product of the President’s directive, its contents remain of public interest.
“In the spirit of promotion of access to information and fostering constructive public dialogue and engagement on the observations and recommendations of the report including on the question of conditions of service for civil servants, it is important that the President releases such report to the public as a matter of urgency,” she said.
She said as a custodian of the Access to Information Act (ATI), the Commission sees no justifiable reasons for keeping the report out of the public domain.
Chijozi said continued failure to release such a report is a violation of the Constitutionally guaranteed right to access to information.
“The Government cannot continue to take pride in the operationalization of the Access to Information Act when the President withholds such important information that has public interest.
“The Commission recalls that the current government pledged in both the State of National Address (SONA) and the Budget Statement to review the working conditions of public servants including increasing their salary,” she said.
She said while the Commission commends the government for such a gesture, it is the expectation of the Commission that the Report on the Review of Public Service Systems of
Allowance, employment, contracts, procurement and on the conditions of service and restructuring- after it has been publicly released- would also serve the reference purpose when reviewing these conditions of service.
She said the Commission is aware – based on the Terms of Reference (TORs) of the Taskforce -that the issue of public servants working conditions including salaries was one of the issues which the Taskforce was mandated to address.