Friday, July 13, 2012

Malawian delegation visits local NGO

Malawian Ombundsman Justice Tujilane Chizumila (L) chats with the deputy Ombundsman of Rwanda Bernadette Kanzayire on arrival. The New Times / File.
Governments should consider combining forces with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to serve the interest of the population.

The observation was made by the Executive Secretary of the Ombudsman of Malawi, Ellos E. Lodzeni, at the headquarters of the Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development (RISD).

Lodzeni is part of a Malawian delegation on a week-long visit to the country led by his country’s Ombudsman, Justice Tujilane Chizumila.

“From what we have learnt, CSO`s and governments should coordinate since they are both working towards a common goal of serving the interests of citizens,” said Chizumila said.

His observation came shortly after an interactive meeting between RISD staff and the delegation. RISD is a local NGO dealing with land related issues. The organisation has a pact with  the Office of the Ombudsman among other institutions and organisations.

“Although local authorities get down to the grassroots, CSO`s have mechanisms through which they get information concerning challenges the population face,” he said.

During the visit, the delegation requested for further information on how the local ombudsman’s office deals with private individuals and RISD’s role on the same.

The Malawians noticeably pointed out that their ombudsman’s office solely deals with public issues.   

The Director of RISD, Annie Kairaba, highlighted her organisation’s activities in solving land related issues especially those involving vulnerable people.

“In case we consult some ministries concerning challenges citizens face and they fail to respond, it is very easy for us to seek the intervention from the office of the ombudsman because of the MoU we have,” Kairaba explained.

She explained that RISD had played a significant role in building the capacity of the “Abunzi” (mediators) saying they have been effective in solving land disputes during the on-going land reforms.

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