By Lisa Kadango
Lilongwe, April 7, Mana: President Lazarus Chakwera has stressed the need for Malawi to reflect on human rights and take on the work of championing human rights as a practice by all.
He said this during the swearing in ceremony of Commissioner Chikondi Chijozi into the Seventh Cohort of the Malawi Human Rights Commission on Wednesday in Lilongwe.
Chakwera stressed that human rights must be fought for and not just promoted. He added that everyone wants human rights to thrive.
“We must first ensure that human rights are something we ourselves practice, and I can think of nothing more tragic than the idea of a human rights commissioner who routinely violets the rights of his or her workers at home, or the rights of his or her subordinates and colleagues at work or the rights of his or her children or fellow citizen in the public square,’’ said the President.
He emphasised that human rights must be practiced, not just preached.
The First citizen further stated that the approach to the consolidation of human rights must account for those who will naturally work at cross purposes to human rights in their quest for selfish interests.
Chakwera added that the approach must also account for those who may very well militantly seek to abuse the rights of others as a result of having an evil nature that takes pleasure in doing harm to others.
The President also stressed that human rights commissioners must be ready to take powerful forces to task without fear, hence the need for themselves to practice human rights.
“My point is that advancing human rights is no-walk-in-the-park and must not be taken on by the timid and cowardly; the forces you have to fight off to protect human rights are formidable,’’ he said.
President Chakwera observed that when it comes to taking on powerful forces and keeping them in check, Commissioner Chikondi Chijozi is in good company with other commissioners that includes human rights warriors like law commissioner and Ombudsman who are beacons of light in our nation.
The Head of State then pledged his administration’s commitment to help MHRC to maintain its good reputation on the international stage.
He also urged the new commissioner to work hand in hand with Minister of Justice to fulfil the requirements of maintaining the status of MHRC.
On a different note, the President expressed his deepest condolences to MHRC following the death of Patrick Semphere who until his death, worked tirelessly for the advancement and consolidation of human rights.
Speaking earlier, Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Zangazanga Chikhosi, said Commissioner Chijozi fills the vacancy in the MHRC post following the death of the Chairperson, late Patrick Semphere early this year.
Commissioner Chijozi is a Human Rights lawyer with 14-year vast experience in the field, hence capable for the job, according to Chikhosi.
In her remarks, the sworn in Commissioner Chijozi said she felt honoured to be given the opportunity to serve at Malawi Human Rights Commission.
She said her appointment would add value to the work of Malawi Human Rights Commission as well as the nation’s larger platform.