Malawi MPs want British-style political grilling to President: It’s in the constitution

Question time for the President. Malawi lawmakers want to bring British-style political grilling to the President in the National Assembly led by leader of opposition which is provided for in the country’s constitution, according to published report.

Mutharika greeting lawmakers: They want to grill the President

Mutharika greeting lawmakers: They want to grill the President

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) MP for Lilongwe South West, Peter Chakhwantha, who is also chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament, has said President Peter Mutharika should appear before parliament to be quizzed on state of the nation before the passing of the 2015/16 National Budget.

Chakhwantha said Malawi President is obliged to come before parliament to answer questions from MPs citing Section 89, Sub-section 3 of the Constitution demands that the President should appear before Parliament to undertake two remaining functions after the State of the Nation Address.

“According to this provision, it is a must that the President should come to Parliament to undertake three functions. One of them, which is the delivery of the State of the Nation Address, has already been undertaken.

“Then he is supposed to come to Parliament again to report on policies of the previous year. He is also supposed to respond to questions from members. The latter two obligations have to be undertaken before the budget is passed,” said Chakwantha as quoted in the Daily Times.

Chakhwantha argued that the provision that the President shall go to Parliament to undertake the three assignments should not be confused with Section 89, Sub-section 4 which says “the President shall be called” to Parliament, saying the former is not optional.

But the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale told the paper that Parliament was supposed to draft that agenda if it was necessary.

“The order paper contains questions that are supposed to be asked in the chamber. The process is the same; you cannot invite the President and ambush him with questions because some of the questions may require him to cite data. Ask honourable Chankhwatha if that has been done,” he said

In South Africa, for instance, it is mandatory for the president to appear before parliament and deliver the State of the Nation address before taking responses from MPs.

Political grilling in British parliament is held every Wednesday when the Prime Minister takes question first from opposition leader.

In South Africa, the President is often grilled by opposition MPs.

In the Daily Times report, Malawian professor of law based at the University of Cape Town, Danwood Chirwa, stated that the Malawi President does not have to be called by Parliament to answer questions posed by MPs but is “constitutionally obliged” to appear before Parliament every year.

According to Chakwantha, lawmakers will grill Mutharika on the controversial sale of Malawi Savings Bank (MSB).

Bakili Muluzi was the only president who appeared before parliament in Zomba and answered questions from MPs but since 1995 no president has appeared before the House for question time.

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39 thoughts on “Malawi MPs want British-style political grilling to President: It’s in the constitution”

  1. marble says:

    Iwe Chivwamba MPs amapita ku parliament ndipo ukanena za chakhwantha utisiyire ife tikukhala naye konkuno ku dera lathu. Ma MP ambiri ali ku town. Uyu ndi mnyanata koma adasankha kukhala konkuno ndiye sapita kuti? Amachokera konkuno. Tikamufuna timapita ku nyumba kwake pompa apa. Ku ADC meetings amabwera akafuna kuzakamba za CDF. Pano school blocks 4 wakumanga, small bridges akumanga pa 1 year yomweyi ndiye ubwera udzaone wekha.

  2. milazi says:

    Koma zinazi

  3. bob says:

    Even Executive Heads of Ministries or PSs need this kind of grilling by a similar body not necessarily Parliament because most of them do not know about substantive issues about their Ministries They are just good at nominating their cronies for foreign trips and workshops. What nonsense??

  4. Jojo says:

    This will help accountability.

  5. Lilongwe says:

    Zili ndi ubwino ndi kuipa kwake

  6. Bob says:

    Ine cardiac arrest nono

  7. Khonsolo says:

    Thats bad coz some questions will require references & more time to inqure.

  8. fawema says:

    that’s a welcome development,we need civilised politics now in our country,thumbs up Chankhwantha

  9. BOY MASAKA says:


  10. chivwamba says:

    Ziyambike ndi ma MP iyeyo Chakhwantha kwao saonekako akamuitana anthu sabwera kuopa mafunso. This is correct we need accountability from mps. How they use money for chitukuko and many others. Then the president should answer them from our elected representatives

  11. chiidamtere says:

    even the mps failed to come to answer to people who vote for them so why h.e come to them??

  12. Patriot says:

    You are wasting your time, a so called president alibe mayankho, more over sakudziwa zimene zikuchitika mdziko muno.
    Funsani Prime Minister instead, akuziwapo bwino much much than the so called president.

  13. straight Talk says:

    President, ministers and MPs r sent to work for people and should always be answerable to their representatives. Some of you say ‘mukuyesa president ndi size yanu’. presidential post is higher which needs mature, responsible and accountable person. when these people are vaying for the position know that they will be accountable to their subjects despite of their position so musatenge constitution yanu yachipani cha DPP yompembeza mtsogoleri nkubweretsa kudziko ngati sa kufuna kuyankha mafunso achite resign walephera kukwaniritsa constitution. Ngati mano mkamwa mulibe akaonekera (I mean if brains had migrated) Ministers and MPs should too take question from their subject

  14. yes it happened several times during dr. banda’s reign, but was not announced on radio. Please follow national issues closely. The president needs to be questioned no two ways. Our tax is hurting our earnings. He must talk.

    1. Rabon Zorro says:

      You kidding? Were you really around, and aware of politics during HKB’s dictatorship? If you quizzed that tyrant, anywhere, you would not see the next day, achimwene (bro). You would be fed to the Nile Crocs in the Shire, in no time at all!

  15. nobel says:

    The way these comments are presented one would think it’s from some foreingners and not Malawian citizens. Look, it’s good for democracy, good for everybody. Take for instance, the issue of MSB sale wasn’t in the president SONA yet people are against the sale of the same. By the way, isn’t the president answerable to us? People in DPP should should stop hijacking the debate if they are not prepared for sober debate, we can’t develop this country if party colours dominate these national issues.

  16. Gada says:

    It the work of policy analysts or PC in Malawian case to brief the president on issues of national importance. The AG is very wrong on this one. Typical Malawians who dont want their leaders held accountable. Typical bootlicker and hand clapper mentality. Covering the inept and clueless president who has no idea as to what is going on on the ground. He needs to be questioned in parliament period!! MPs do not have to submit their questions in advance. What does the AG think this is? We are not in kinder garden!! wake up Malawians wake up!!

  17. Chakwera: "Mulakhoism" says:

    It should start at constituency level. Constituents should grill you first before you grill the president.

  18. ujeni says:

    Peter Mutharika would just be crying, he cant speak.

  19. jimbo says:

    Why is APM wearing sunglasses in the picture when only one other person in the crowd is wearing them? Is he afraid to look people in the eye? Frankly I think it is pure affectation on his part. Kamuzu always wore sunglasses even when the sun was not shining. APM looks foolish in them. In the UK it is considered bad manners to address people wearing sunglasses. The eyes should be visible when shaking hands with people.

  20. Kenkkk says:

    This is very welcome especially for a president who shuts his mouth or deliberately remains silent on all issues of national importance except for speaking at or attending beam events.

    Things must change, it is not good enough like some stupid people here saying that was not being done previously. Prime ministers and presidents all over the free world get quizzed and respond to issues in parliament. There is no such thing as ambushing the president, if he knows the answer he answers, if he doesn’t he says so and he will consult after to get the correct information which can be relayed later by a minister or a spokesperson or indeed himself.

    What the AG is saying is utter stupidity as that is his normal talk. What agenda or prepared questions? Do members know in advance what the president’s state of the nation address will be so that they can prepare their questions? Sometimes the address itself omits many national issues of importance, so why can’t members quiz the president on these issues?

    It is so simple, he doesn’t see how other leaders handle the questions? He should be prepared to answer on many issues of national importance such as msb, nacgate, corruption, etc. Just hiding is the order of the day.

    Please mps insist that he should be called to answer. It is high time that some of these sleeping sections of the constitution we have are waken up. That is our problem, we have the law but don’t enforce it.

  21. Namatchaitsa says:

    Keep on dreaming¡

  22. Nyasa Cigaretes says:

    Kodi Peter anaberadi masankho? Tichedwepo. Those with evidence please show it here.

  23. jimbo says:

    The President and his ministers should all be held to account for their policies and decisions. A simple ‘Yes, sir/No, sir’ is too easy and allows those in power to get away with murder, sometimes literally. If APM is on top of his game, he should have no trouble at all answering questions as he is a lawyer. Question Time is simply an extension of democracy. Bring it on!!

  24. Nyirenda says:

    Alibe mfondo a presidentwo nanga sadachita kubera .Mwina Beni Phiri akadapanda kusiya ntchito bwezi atamuza chokayankha koma mpanda manoyu sangathe kuganiza payenkha. KOMA ndikadakhala ine ndikadakaonetsa ku MPs ukadawulo wanga kuti ndine President wawo.

    1. Chakwera: "Mulakhoism" says:

      Ma MPS wonse should go to their constituents and show their ukadaulo wawo. Let them be grilled by their constituents.

  25. A Cuthbert says:

    Complete balderdash! Grill the relevant cabinet minister as per normal parliamentary procedures. MCP- did you grill Kamuzu or Bingu or JB? You have nothinh to do? Look at your costituencies. You have done nothing forbthem!! Let your constituents grill you lazy ailly MPs!!!

  26. Mapiri says:

    It is a constitutional requirement not British style of politics. Write properly

  27. George phiri says:

    To every sane Malawian, this sounds good as it provides an opportunity for people to hear direct from the president. This can not be termed as waste of time because there are so many decisions that the government makes which we dont understand and here I mean MPs inclusive. Sometimes I wonder the kind of comments people make. This process should apply to all presidents in the near future. If you watch the South African and British system you will discovered that its a mature process that is not bent on denting the government’s image but rather irons out misunderstandings in the end exposing liars be it opposition or government.
    So mr speaker sir, i support the motion

    1. Chakwera: "Mulakhoism" says:

      Yes every sane Malawian will recommend that this will begin with the MPs and their constituents. We need these constituents to answer our questions as our servants. Let them come kumudzi kuno so we can grill them. From there they will know on which issues to grill the president on.

      1. Kenkkk says:

        Of course the grilling is for anyone. No one is spared. Mps are supposed to have offices in their constituents as well where people can come and complain about issues. Or when they hold public meetings, people should be able to grill them as well.

    2. Chikangawa says:

      Another Heart attack waiting to happen.

  28. Omex70 says:

    I am surprised with some people who don’t see the need for the president to appear before parliament for questions. This provision is for the good of the nation and it is not taking our agogo. I know that some of you are saying no to this proposal because you are looking this issue from DPP perspective.

  29. Gezi says:

    Ziyambike kaye pa grassroots. Ma MP ayambe kufunsidwa before they quiz the President. Kma ma MP mumadzion ngati ndani?

  30. mbuzi iwe says:

    Mwasowa zochita eti. Kodi mumawona ngati president ndi size yanu eti.

  31. Nabetha says:

    That is great. He must come to parliament and answer the questions using his brain, muzawone ngazi sazabibidwa ndi manjenje. The problem is that Professor Gogo can not think on his own.

  32. Boyd Kilembey says:

    Waste of valuable time. These hookers just want to have the lime light on them. Grilling the President is not a strategic vision. Changing decision making processes are what the MPs should be fighting for….

  33. Rich nduna says:

    Ndiye kuchoka 1995 mwati mubwere chaka chino 2015,,,mapazi anu ndithu

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