The Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of Parliament yesterday settled for UK Aid-funded Violence Against Women Prevention Response Programme team leader Grace Malera as the successor of Martha Chizuma as Ombudsman.
Sources told The Nation that Malera excelled among four other candidates, namely former Women Lawyers Association president Tadala Chimkwezule, former Malawi Housing Corporation acting chief executive officer Wellington Kazembe, Gloria Kalebe Namondwe and Escom legal compliance manager Yamikani David Kambauwa.
One PAC member said the committee settled for Malera who scored 22.6 out of the 25 rating to emerge the best candidate and replace Chizuma who raised the profile of the Office of the Ombudsman and is now Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general.
The source said the second best candidate had a score of 21.7.
Malera, a former Malawi Human Rights Commissioner and ActionAid executive director, becomes the fifth Ombudsman since the Ombudsman Act was enacted in 1996.
PAC chairperson Joyce Chitsulo refused to disclose the outcome of the interviews held yesterday in Lilongwe.
She said the committee has not communicated to the successful candidate; hence, it would be unfair for them to hear from the media.
But Chitsulo confirmed that her committee had appointed a new Ombudsman, adding that competition was stiff.
She said: “All the five were good candidates, but we were supposed to have one. I am glad to say we now have a person who is taking over from Ms Martha Chizuma as Ombudsman.”
The new Ombudsman will take up office on September 1 2021. The contract is for five years and is renewable based on performance.
When contacted last evening, Malera said she would not comment on the news filtering in that she was successful.
To qualify for the position, the committee was looking for someone with 10 years experience as a lawyer, innovative, having analytical skills and ability to manage human resources as well as vast knowledge on legal issues.
Five people, three females and two males, competed for the position that fell vacant after Chizuma left to take up the ACB director general position.
Malera has 19 years experience as a lawyer, having started her career at ACB in 2002 as prosecutions officer.
A year later she joined Malawi Human Rights Commission where she worked for 16 year as principal legal officer, deputy director of legal services, director of legal services and executive secretary.
She joined ActionAid Malawi in 2017 as executive director quitting 18 months later to join the Violence Against Women Prevention Responce Programme as team leader in 2019.