- By MHRC, 07 July 2020
Commissioner Scader Louis was elected the new Chairperson of MHRC on 30th April 2021 replacing late Rev. Patrick Semphere. Prior to being the Chairperson of MHRC, Commissioner Louis was a Commissioner responsible for Disability and Elderly Rights and Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committees. Commissioner Louis is a disability rights activist and her track record demonstrates that she is strongly grounded in the promotion and protection of human rights of vulnerable groups in society. She is a co-founder of Spinal Injuries Association of Malawi (SIAM), an organization which exist to address needs of persons with spinal cord injuries from a rights-based approach. Much of her advocacy work in the disability movement has been that of advocating for realization of human rights of persons with spinal cord injury and women and girls with disabilities. As a seasoned peer supporter, her role has over the years been providing psychological support (or counseling), disability rights awareness, transfer skills support and working with partners such as MAP, Motivation Africa to provide appropriate assistive devices to persons with spinal cord injuries. In 2013, because of her work in this area, Commissioner Louis participated in mainstreaming disability in Africa programme funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Commissioner Louis has also contributed greatly to the advocacy work for women and girls with disabilities, particularly on access to inclusive health care systems. She is also a recipient of a seed grant from Mobility International, USA (MIUSA) a USA based organization that advances disability rights and leadership for women and girls with disabilities. Commissioner Louis is an Accountant by profession and a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA). She is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (ICAM). Commissioner Louis is a Board Member of Land Base Limited and Joy Abilities Empowerment organization. She is currently working with World Vision Malawi as Risk and Compliance Manager.
DR. BERTHA SEFU
COMMISSIONER FOR GENDER AND WOMENS RIGHTS AND CORPORATE SERVICE
Commissioner Sefu has previously, in the 6th Cohort, served as Commissioner responsible for Gender and Women’s Rights Directorate, Complaints Handling Committee, Upper Appointments and Disciplinary Committee and Commissioner responsible for Southern Region MHRC Office. In the current, 7th Cohort Dr. Sefu is a Chairperson for Child Rights Directorate, and is responsible for Gender and Women Rights and a member of Corporate Services. She also falls in Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee. Commissioner Dr. Bertha Sefu has more than 20 years’ experience on issues of human rights particularly rights to education and health, gender equality, children’s rights, and civic engagement. She is a holder of PhD from Columbia Commonwealth University and Master of Science Degree in Strategic Management from University of Derby. She has previously worked as a National Programme Coordinator for 50:50 Programme under Ministry of Gender, a programme that brought about 43 women members of Parliament. As a Lecturer in Teacher Training Colleges, Curriculum Developer with Malawi Institute of Education, Chief Examiner for Teacher Training Colleges at Malawi Examinations Board (MANEB). Commissioner Sefu has also been a Programme Manager for Malawi Council of Churches responsible for Gender, HIV and AIDS, Economic Justice and Family Programs, and Programme Manager for MIDEA responsible for Civic and Voter Education. Commissioner Sefu has also authored several books for Primary Education, and besides she is trained in NGO Management with University of Wye, United Kingdom. Commissioner, Dr. Sefu has also previously been a Board Member for the following boards: A member of Malawi Accountants Board, a member of National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE), a member of Southern Africa People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+) Netherlands, Chairperson for MASAF III Board and Chairperson for MANET + Board.
In the current 7th Cohort, Commissioner Chijozi is a member of Child Rights Directorate and Civil and Political Rights Directorate. Commissioner Chikondi Chijozi is a passionate human rights lawyer with 17 years’ experience in human rights work. She has been a human rights activist since 2004 when she joined Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) as a paralegal officer. She rose up the ladder in the organisation and became the Deputy Executive Director and Litigation Manager. She is a strong advocate for rights of marginalised groups including women, children, sex workers, LGBTIQ and prisoners. She has been involved in strategic litigation challenging laws that oppress the marginalised groups. The notable cases that she has been involved in, include, the laws on rogue and vagabond, laws that target and criminalise sex workers, challenging the policy that prevent Rastafari children from being enrolled and admitted into government schools and protecting children from unlawful and arbitrary arrests and detentions. Ms. Chijozi holds a Master of Laws (International Human Rights Law) from University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Malawi, Chancellor College. Ms. Chijozi is currently working for the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) and she heads the Criminal Justice Program. She is also a board member of IPAS Malawi, Youth and Society (YAS). In 2006 she was awarded at the first African Young Women Summit for outstanding work in human rights. She is also an active member of the Women Lawyers Association in Malawi. In 2020 she was awarded by the Women Lawyers Association as the best female lawyer in NGO sector. She is a member of the Malawi Law Society and serves as a member of the Public Interest Litigation Committee. She also has published some articles and research work on various human rights issues.
MRS STELLA TWEA
COMMISSIONER FOR ECONOMIC SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, GENDER AND WOMEN RIGHTS
Commissioner Twea a 6th Cohort member is currently a Commissioner responsible for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Gender and Women Rights. Commissioner Twea is also the Chairperson of Women and Gender Directorate. Commissioner Stella Twea is a gender specialist and women rights activist with over 15 years’ experience of promoting gender equality and human rights in her capacity as an international civil servant in the United Nations system, national civil servant, NGO and consultant. She has previously worked with UNFPA (Malawi and Liberia country offices) holding several positions such as GBV Coordinator, Gender Advisor and international Gender consultant; Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children as Executive Director; CIDA-COMWASH Project as Gender and Community Development consultant; Concern Universal Malawi as Gender Coordinator; and Ministry of Education as Secondary School Teacher. A holder of a Masters in Women’s Law (University of Zimbabwe) and a Bachelor of Education from University of Malawi, Commissioner Twea played a key role while at UNFPA in ensuring that gender was mainstreamed in the UN Development Assistant Framework (UNDAF) for Malawi (2008-2011), and has also provided technical support in the development of key national policies and programs for the enhancement of women’s participation in socio-economic and political life. These include the development of National Gender Policy (2000), Gender responsive budgeting guidelines (2006), the National Plan of Action for Gender Based Violence (2008) just to mention a few. She has also been involved at SADC level in the development of the SADC Gender Mainstreaming Strategy for Open and Distance Education.
Ms. MARTHA CHIZUMA
COMMISSIONER FOR ECONOMIC SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, DISABILITY AND ELDERLY RIGHTS AND CHILD RIGHTS
Commissioner Martha Chizuma was appointed the Ombudsman of the Republic of Malawi on 1st December 2015. Holding the position of Ombudsman constitutionally makes her a Commissioner of the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), a Commissioner of the Police Service Commission and a member of Malawi Prison Inspectorate. As MHRC Commissioner, she has previously served as a Commissioner responsible for the Disability and Elderly Rights Directorate. Commissioner Chizuma is currently the Chairperson of MHRC Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Thematic Committee. Besides, she is a member of various MHRC Thematic Committees such as Child Rights Thematic Committee; and the Disability and Elderly Rights Thematic Committee. Commissioner Chizuma has led, participated or provided oversight functions in several low- and high-profile human rights related investigations that MHRC has conducted over the years particularly since 2015 when she became the Commissioner of MHRC. Carrying out such an oversight and investigative role in human rights violations at MHRC has ably complemented her job as Ombudsman where she has successfully led in investigations of several high- and low-profile cases relating to maladministration and abuse of public office in the process earning wider public and international recognition as one of the fearless, patriotic and outstanding public protector and human rights defenders of our time. For example, some of the national and international awards to her credit include: Woman of the Year Award 2021 African Gender Equality Conference; 2020 Women Lawyer Member of the Year – Government; and 2020 Institute of Marketers Person of the Year. Besides, under her leadership the office of the Ombudsman was voted 2019 Best exhibitor at the first ever Ombudsman Expo in Nigeria, 2019 Best Performer amongst Constitutional bodies and overall best performing public institution in the country. A member of the Bar Association of Malawi, Women Lawyers Association of Malawi and Women Judges Association of Malawi (founding member and ex-official), Commissioner Chizuma holds a Masters of Law in International Economic Law from the University of East London and Bachelor of Laws with Honors (LLB) from University of Malawi, Chancellor College. Commissioner Chizuma has practiced Law for 18 years having previously worked with Limbe Leaf Tobacco Company as Legal Counsel, Deputy Chairperson of Industrial Relations Court (IRC), Assistant Registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal and Senior Resident Magistrate. Commissioner Chizuma is also a board member of several international and local organisations such as the World Vision Malawi (a member of Advisory Council), PSI-Malawi and the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa. She is also the patron of FPAM
MR. BONIFACE MASSAH
COMMISSIONER FOR ECONOMIC SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, DISABILITY AND ELDERLY RIGHTS, AND CHILD RIGHTS
In the current 7th Cohort of Commissioners, he is the Chairperson of Upper Appointment and Disciplinary Committee of MHRC. Commissioner Massah is also responsible for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Disability and Elderly and Child Rights. Commissioner Bonface Massah is a seasoned human rights defender and development practitioner with vast experience in promotion and protection of civil, gender, social and disability inclusion rights. A holder of a Master’s Degree in Development Studies from University of Stellenbosch, a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture from University of Malawi, Bunda College of Agriculture (Now LUANAR), Civic Leadership and Engagement certificate and Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders certificate from University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. Commissioner Massah has worked with the Education Department of CCAP Synod of Livingstonia as Project Manager for inclusive Education Program, Rehabilitation Officer for Malawi Council for the Handicapped, Disability and inclusion Consultant and a Researcher with a focus on disability and human rights in general. A former National Coordinator (2016-2018) and President (2009-2016) of Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM). He is currently the Country Director for Standing Voice Malawi, a charity NGO working on human rights of persons with albinism. Commissioner Massah is a recipient of several international awards such as 2020 Alumni Ambassador for Mandela Washington fellowship, 2019 Holman Prize Semifinalist, 2018 Mandela Washington Young African leaders fellowship, 2018 Henry Viscardi Achievement Award recipient, 2018 Robert Burns Humanitarian Award Certificate of Nomination, 2015 inaugural award winner of the BARI-BARI PRIZE (2015–2025) for his outstanding role in advocating for human rights especially the rights of persons with albinism.
Ms. ROSEMARY KUMITSONYO KANYUKA
COMMISSIONER FOR CORPORATE SERVICE, CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS
Apart from her day-to-day role as the current Law Commissioner at the Malawi Law Commission, and by virtue of being Law Commissioner, Rosemary Kanyuka is an ex-officio Human Rights Commissioner in the 7th Cohort. She is a Commissioner responsible for Corporate Services, Civil and Political Rights. Commissioner Rosemary Kanyuka is a seasoned Legal Practitioner and Corporate Lawyer of about 30 years of experience in both private practice and the public sector. Commissioner Kanyuka holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honors) Degree from University of Malawi, Chancellor College. She has vast experience in advising corporate clients, including drafting of legal instruments. She has also sat on a number of boards, such as the Reserve Bank of Malawi, First Merchant Bank, Continental Discount House, Securicor Malawi Limited and Vanguard Insurance. Besides, Commissioner Kanyuka has vast experience in company secretarial work, including drafting of legal instruments, including incorporation of companies such as Continental Discount House, Nascomex Ltd, Malawi Environmental Endowment Trust, Commodity Exchange Ltd, among others. Commissioner Kanyuka – a former diplomat having served as Malawi’s Deputy Ambassador to Japan between 2012 and 2017 – rejoined the Malawi Public Service, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and rose to the position of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP in 2010– in the process becoming the first female DPP in the history of Malawi). A Commonwealth fellow, Commissioner Kanyuka has also previously served as an Executive member of the Malawi Law Society’s Board of Executives. Commissioner Kanyuka is a Managing Partner of Messrs. Lilley, Wills &Company Legal Firm.
MR. BALDWIN CHIYAMWAKA
COMMISSIONER FOR CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS , GENGER ANDWOMEN'S RIGHTS
Commissioner Baldwin Chiyamwaka is a highly experienced Development Practitioner. He has worked in the Development industry and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Sector for 21 years as Country/Executive Director for various organizations; Global and Regional Programme Manager, Communication Specialist, Human Rights Expert and Researcher. He has substantive experience in designing, developing and implementing holistic, multifaceted and multi-layered global, regional and local transformational and governance development programmes focused on children and their families, the poor and vulnerable groups in different countries in East and Southern Africa and Asia; developing and implementing comprehensive and integrated communications strategies that positions an INGO as a leading national and international development and relief organization; Conducting research, analyzing policy, disseminating information and providing expertise to inform and influence policy and public discourse on governance and corruption, conflict prevention and risk analysis and the functioning of the governance system as a contribution towards a more open, safer and more secure society. Prior to working in the NGO Industry, Commissioner Chiyamwaka worked in the Government with Ministry of Education as Teacher and later Teacher Trainer and with the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology as Information Officer and later Principal Information Officer responsible for Publications. Commissioner Chiyamwaka has also substantive experience in providing high level leadership. He has been Commissioner for the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) for four years responsible for civil and political rights and rights of people with disabilities and the elderly. He has also served as Board Chairperson of Farm Radio Trust (FRT), Chairperson of the Malawi Public Relations Association Board of Trustees, Board Member of Baobab Health Trust, Trustee of the Association of Business Journalists in Malawi, Chairman of LC Pharmacies board of Directors and Chairman of Lilongwe Pentecostal Church Private Schools Board of Directors. He holds a Master of Business administration (MBA), Master of Arts (MA) in Communications Studies, BA in Development Administration and Communications and a Diploma in Education majoring in English and Linguistics.
DR. SUNDUZWAYO MADISE
COMMISSIONER FOR CORPORATE SERVICE,CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS
In the current 7th Cohort, Commissioner Madise is a Commissioner responsible for Corporate Services and Civil and Political Rights. He is currently the Chairperson of Corporate Services Committee. Commissioner Dr. Sunduzwayo Madise, is a passionate governance and legal scholar with vast theoretical and practical experience in human rights and human rights Law; Finance and Financial Services law; Commerce and Commercial Law; Gender aspects of Finance and Financial inclusion; and International Trade and international Trade Law. A former Dean of the Faculty of Law at University of Malawi and a visiting Lecturer at University of Western Cape and University of Pretoria, Dr Madise holds a PhD in Law (University of Warwick), Post Graduate Award in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (University of Warwick), Master of Laws (International Trade and Business Law) from University of the Western Cape, a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Science from University of Malawi. Dr Madise has also served as Vice Chairperson of Malawi Council for Legal Education; Member of University of Malawi Council; Member of University of Malawi Senate. He is also a Member of Society of Legal Scholars. He has previously served as President of Chancellor College Academic Staff Union; Board Member of Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC); President of Malawi Congress of Trade Union amongst others. Commissioner Madise has published extensively in renowned academic journals, and is also a regular governance and legal commentator in various local and international media. Dr. Madise is also the current Chairperson of the Malawi National Council of Sports.