OMBUDSMAN FREQUENT ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

The Ombudsman:

  • Is a high level public official.
  • Is independent of government and political parties.
  • Is appointed by Public Appointment Committee of parliament in terms of the Constitution.
  • Receives complaints from aggrieved or distressed persons against government departments, agencies or officials; and
Has the power to:
  • Investigate;
  • Mediate, conciliate and negotiate;
  • Recommend corrective action; and
  • Issue reports

Anyone can lodge a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman, who will then investigate it, and recommend a remedial action. Think of the Ombudsman as a impartial who can look at all sides of a problem. If the Ombudsman finds that the complaint is justified, he/she will do whatever possible to find a solution to the problem, which includes recommending changes to the system. The Ombudsman can also report the matter to Parliament, which will debate the matter and ensure that recommendations are followed.

Investigations are mostly done informally, but the Ombudsman can serve summons on people to give evidence under oath or affirmation when this becomes necessary.

Any person or a group of people may complain to the Ombudsman against any public office, if they feel aggrieved by any action taken or not taken by such authority or a member thereof.

One does not need to be a national of Malawi to lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman.

  • Government at any level.
  • Any person(s) performing a public function. This includes anyone performing any official duty which affects all, or part of the people of Malawi, for example a government employee.
  • Public entities such as, Escom and Water board.

Cases of :

  • Abuse of power
  • Unfair treatment
  • Manifest injustice
  • Oppressive conduct
  • Unfair conduct

Before you complain to the Ombudsman, where practible exhaust all internal remedies available, for example by:

  • Speaking to the Supervisor of the official involved
  • Lodging before the internal grievance handling body.
  • Writing to the person in charge of the office, for example the Head of the Department, the Chief Executive Officer, Controlling Officer.
And if matters remain an resolved, you can then complain to the Ombudsman. The following information should be contained in your complaint:
  • Name
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Nature of complaint
  • Organ complained against
  • Relevant documentation
  • Date complaint occasioned
  • Internal procedures exhausted
  • Remedy sought
  • Contact address, employment number, telephone number or email address
  • Next of kin address

The Ombudsman and staff will keep the name of the complainant confidential.

  • Court decisions and sentences
  • Private individuals
  • Private companies
  • Cases which lacks merit
  • Cases which fall under the jurisdiction of another competent authority e.g. Court, Malawi Human Rights Commission and Anti Corruption Bureau.
However, the Office of the Ombudsman can help by guiding the complainant where to complain or what to do in the above cases.