I beg to differ with Malawi President: ATI should apply retrospectively

As the debate rages on the Access to Information Bill(AIT) I feel compelled to contribute to the debate. The AIT is vital to the deepening and consolidation of genuine democracy and economic prosperity in Malawi.

Mutharika posing with media managers

Mutharika posing with media managers

I, therefore, listened with keen interest to a broadcast by the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation(MBC) of the meeting between the the State President and Media owners held at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.

What caught my attention and interest was the State President’s clear statement that he will veto( that is he will not assent) the AIT bill if it goes to him with inconsistencies. One of the inconsistencies that was mentioned is that the ATI should not apply retrospectively.

In view of the foregoing let me state the following facts:

  1. The Presidents(Salaries and Benefits)Act which came into force in December 1994 was made to apply retrospectively so that former state presidents are covered by the Act. There is therefore a precedent for
    a civil law to apply retrospectively.
  2. The Constitution of the Republic of Malawi under section 44(1)(f) prohibits retrospective criminalisation only.

3.Section 66 of the Constitution gives the National Assembly power to amend any bill  presented to it.

  1. Section 73 of the Constitution deals with Presidential assent to bills. The section clearly provides that if a bill  is not assented to the bill has to go back to the National Assembly where if it is passed again by a majority of  the National Assembly the State President has to assent to the bill.

It is clear that under section 73 the power of  the state president to withhold assent is limited.

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Big Man, I do not believe you have read the draft bill because what you are claiming and what your president is claiming are not in the bill–just figments of your warped imagination!


Those blaming Mtingwi for what he has written are idiots and full time fools. You guys are the ones who are busy kusolola ndalama zaboma with your mafia who dont want the ATI bill. Mukuopa kuti zinthunzi zanu zikutsatilani. We all know that munayambitsa cas gate ndinu and pano mukupitiliza, and thats where we want the ATI bill to come in and expose you all. Chimsalu chamkachisi ching’ambika chaka chake ndichino kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk. Tikafufuzaqnso ku MEC kuti munawina bwanji chisankho chija kkkkkk. Mantha bwanji pamenepo kikiki

The author is typical Malawian, just arguing arguing and arguing over something that isn’t worth arguing about. The law has inconsistencies and these need to be ironed out before it is presented to parliament. There is really nothing worth arguing about but to allow the process to take place. Why should Malawi have a law that is not well cooked? You can’t put a sentence in a law that says no future parliament will ever touch or change this law. That is childish behavior and Mambulasa made a fool of himself during that meeting as the facts laid bare by… Read more »

577bn has nothing to do with ATI Bill, retrospectively or not. We might as well say we should stop Cashgate cases.

ATI has nothing to do with crime or fraud cases which will continue to be pursued.

He is afraid perhaps because people would like to know how much money he had when he came home from abroad and when he was a minister under bingu, that is his wealth or how rich he was then.


Mr Mtingwis argument that we had a precedent may be misplaced because it was a known fact that we had a President from 1964. When it comes to the ATI bill, how far do we go if applied retrospectively?


I beg to differ Mr. Ernest F. Mtingwi: ATI law should not apply retrospectively. If section (44)(1)(f) of the Malawi Constitution( as you have put it) prohibits retrospective criminalization, what would be the reason for applying the law retrospectively before the law?
APM has a valid reason otherwise we will be wasting resources in requesting access to information which will not be permissible or invalid for criminalization.


Bill when passed is assented to by the President, it is then gazzeted indicating when it shall become operative. If it applies retrospectively, when are we saying it should go, one year, two years ten years or eternally?

savimbi steve
Achewa amati ,”Pali biii pali minga”.Why is Peter more concerned about retrospective law to be applied regardless whom it will affect in the past Govts?Akuopa CHIANI?Zoona oyipa amadzigwiritsa nthawi zina kuthawa a Police pamene a Police akuyendera zina.Apa Peter akuoneka kuti akubisa zinthu zina zoipa anachita m’buyomu.If Palprliament approves a Bill ,a President has no powers to Veto the bill.The Parliament represent the whole country,so if it says sign this Bill into Law ,then the President has no powers to refuse to sign .Am against the section ,that says ,No future Parliament should repeal the Bill once its signed into… Read more »
There is no law that acts retrospectively,even in the bible the ten commandments were active upon delivery and red at mount Sinai meaning those who did contrary to the ushered laws before were not in any way subjected to them. Is this the Mtingwi we used to know as the boss at MRA? Why then can you write some garbage like this? The way APM addressed the meeting really showed how intelligent and prowess he is on things to do with law. How can a law be not subjected to future change? Regardless of how you hate APM, those inconsistencies… Read more »

The whole issue is on MWK577bn which AMP is having sleepless nights together with his inner circles. We will just use a ACHOKE ! ACHOKE ! ACHOKE syndrome .

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