Malawi law expert says Pres. Banda can’t be forced to step down

University of Malawi (Unima) law Professor Edge Kanyongolo has said despite calls from a section of  civil society that President Joyce Banda should resign over the financial maladministration at Capitol Hill, the law bars anyone from forcefully deposing a sitting head of state.

Kanyongolo – a seasoned academic and constitutional lawyer – said Monday that the Malawian constitution does not go beyond providing the citizenry with their rights to expression and demonstration.

“The President can’t  [be forced to] step down because the law does not provide,” said Kanyongolo.

He added: “People can hold demonstrations and express their minds but when the issue of the head of state stepping down crops up, it is up to the office bearer to decide.”

Kanyongolo emphasized that there is no provision in the Constitution that provides that a sitting head of state should step down because of fraud and corruption.

“The law does not allow,” he emphasized.

But Kanyongolo said in the event that President Banda voluntarily resigns, the Constitution is clear that the Vice President must take over.

“The constitution is clear that if the President resigns, is incapacitated or dies the Vice President must take over,” he said.

Kanyongolo: The onus is on the President

Kanyongolo: The onus is on the President not demos

Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has threatened to take to the streets Thursday to demonstrate against the plunder of government’s money that has rocked the civil service.

Meanwhile, Banda returns to her country Wednesday amidst the ‘cashgate’ scandal in which several civil servants have been arrested with cash believed to have been pilfrating from government coffers.

President Banda has been out of the country for almost three weeks after she left for the United States where she also attended a UN General Assembly.

Soon before she left, the country witnessed one of the gravest crime in recent times in the shooting of Finance Minister Budget Director Paul Mhwiyo.

The incident which has been linked to corrupt activities at Capital Hill and several other illegal activities involving billions of kwachas has however, been followed with a series of arrests with some of those arrested being found with millions of kwachas.

The latest of such arrests is that of an Assistant Accountant in the Office of the President and Cabinet Frank Mwanza.

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