Chakwera critiques Mutharika’s speech: Let lean cabinet be Constitutional order

Leader of opposition in Parliament and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Rev Dr Lazarus Chakwera has demanded President Peter Mutharika to ensure the 20-member cabinet idea be enacted into law and part on the Constitution order.

Chakwera made the call during his official response to Mutharika’s State of the Nation Address made on Tuesday this week when he officially opened Parliament.

“It is in this regard that the Malawi Congress Party’s position is that even the reduction of Cabinet size to 20 should be included in the Constitution,” said Chakwera.

Chakwera:   Lets reduction of presidential powers be done in constitution

Chakwera: Lets reduction of presidential powers be done in constitution

The MCP president argued that by making it constitutional the learn cabinet idea would prove Mutharika’s desire to reduce presidential powers as he pledged on Tuesday.

“And knowing that the State President is committed to the reduction of presidential powers gives us confidence that he would be supportive of this development,” said Chakwera.

Chakwera also urged Mutharika to allow Parliament take a lead on the proposed establishment of a statutory council to guide long-term national goals.

The opposition chief concurred with Mutharika’s call for an end to the chronic habit of changing national priorities to suit the interests of the ruling party.

“However, I must quickly add that this is easier said than done. While the President’s proposed establishment of a statutory Council to guide long-term national goals is commendable, it is our view that the establishment of such a Council cannot be the responsibility of his Administration alone.

“If that Council is either to operate in the long-term interests of the nation regardless of which Administration is in power or if it is to be accountable to the long-term voice of the people rather than the short-term rule of the President.”

He said it was the people’s representatives in Parliament that the President should turn for the establishment of the Council.

“This is only one of several examples of innovations proposed in the State of the Nation address that may be better regulated by the Legislature than the Executive,” he explained.

He also called on Mutharika to constitutionalize the idea of reducing presidential as his commitment in walking the talk.

“In view of the President’s own commitment to the reduction of presidential powers. If that commitment is genuine, then the President may also want to consider proposing constitutional amendments to enshrine the reduction of presidential powers within the laws of the land.”

Mutharika, brother to the late 2004-12 president Bingu wa Mutharika, won a chaotic general election on 20 May, ousting his predecessor Joyce Banda.

He faces the task of restoring relations with donors who slashed aid making up 40% of Malawi’s budget following a massive corruption scandal.

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