By George Bulombola MANA
Malawi is expected to have a Whistleblower Protection Law following extensive stakeholder consultations that have been conducted by the Special Law Commission on the Development of the legislation.
Speaking Thursday in Mzuzu during a stakeholder consultation meeting, chairperson for the Special Law Commission, Justice John Chirwa said the commission is expected to be ready with an encompassing draft legislation for submission to the cabinet by February 2025.
“However, we cannot guarantee that, as sometimes we face funding challenges,” said Justice Banda.
Justice Banda added that there is a need for stakeholder and public participation to enhance transparency and accountability in the law development process, hence the consultation meeting.
He said whistleblowers are sources of information with high value that can never be sourced through any formal system, and that whistleblowing is encouraged in the fight against corruption and other irregular public administration issues.
“We received submissions from the Anti-Corruption Bureau on the need for this law. We therefore intend to develop a comprehensive Whistleblower Protection Law to deal with retribution, which is currently very high against whistleblowers,” he said.
He said the idea is to come up with encompassing universal legislation for the nation that covers all areas to protect whistleblowers and that they are assured of protection.
“Currently, we have provisions in the Corrupt Practices Act and the Financial Crimes Act, among others. Hence, people take it that the provisions in such Acts only pertain to the specific Acts,” he said.
According to the Executive Director of Ulalo, James Gondwe, the law will be very important in addressing issues of corruption and all forms of crime.
“At the moment whistleblowers are always afraid of retaliation as we do not have operational mechanisms in this area,” said Gondwe.
He proposed to the commission to come up with a specific body that will be mandated to tackle issues of whistleblower protection, besides developing proper monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure that the law once in place is followed.