A movement calling itself ‘Reform to Transform’ led by former legal advisor of late president Bingu wa Mutharika, Allan Ntata and supported by a former spokesman of late Mutharika, Chikumbutso Mtumodzi has issued a statement calling for the impeachment of President Peter Mutharika.
The statement issued Friday comes after there has been calls from opposition parties to have the President Mutharika abdicate from his office within 90 days.
Ntata and Mtumodzi have accused Mutharika for plunging Malawi into an economic and social turmoil.
They argue that as far as dealing with the problems that the country is facing is concerned, Mutharika is “desperately inept and incapable”.
According to the movement, instead of perhaps putting together teams of knowledgeable individuals that can help Mutharika guide the country out of the current quandary, “he is more interested in petty politicking, needlessly arresting opposition politicians while the most vulnerable in the country, women and children, are going without food because of the scarcity of maize, and dying from hunger and the collapse of the healthcare services.”
They noted that Malawi has no medicines in public hospitals, and patients are going without food or proper care.
Additionally, the runaway inflation has meant resulted in an unprecedented rise in the prices of basic necessities.
“The result of this being that even after being given prescriptions by doctors in hospitals and clinics, many Malawians cannot afford to buy the medicines they need.”
Ntata stated: “We are convinced that if a President is unable to provide the leadership that this country needs, then such a president is unfit to occupy the office, and that the constitution gives Malawians legal and legitimate grounds through which they can remove such a detrimental leader and place the leadership of the country in the hands of someone who hopefully may be more capable.”
In laying their grounds for impeachment, the movement accuse of being a negligent President dragging Malawi into “grave danger”.
Members of Parliament have given three grounds to consider in indictment of the President through an impeachment motion, insisting that “a change of leadership is in the interest of the nation at large, and may be the only real beginning to a true remedy for our country’s malaise at this moment”.
The activists cites Mutharika’s executive order to suspend laws that make homosexuality illegal in Malawi as one example in which the President has contravened against the Constitution.
“President Peter Mutharika unilaterally and illegally, has placed a moratorium on certain laws of the republic such as the homosexuality laws, without any such powers being given to him in any written law of the republic. This is but one example of a totally unacceptable, illegal and unjustifiable usurping of powers on an issue which all Malawians ought to have a say. And yet, here is someone who took an oath to preserve and defend the Constitution (s. 81(1)), flouting it at will. A president that fails to defend the Constitution and acts ultra vires by imposing a moratorium on an issue that can only be decided by Malawians is a disaster” reads part of the document by the Reform to Transform grouping.
Mutharika’s decision which was seen by the international community as a step towards decriminalisation of homosexuality in Malawi was later reversed by the High Court who described the moratorium as illegal in the current Constitutional framework.
The activists have also listed the recent arrest of Malawi Congress Party parliamentarians, Jessie Kabwila and Peter Louis Chakhwantha as another ground for the impeachment.
“President Mutharika allowed or may have instructed his agents, the police to illegally arrest MCP parliamentarians while parliament is seating, for offences that are not exempted from parliamentary immunity based on flimsy evidence that can reasonably be construed to have been obtained by infringing on the accused’s freedoms”.
The movement wants the legislators to summon Mutharika to appear before the house to answer impeachment charges and be formally indicted at the beginning of the impeachment proceedings. .
Section 86(1) of the Republican Constitution of the National Assembly stipulates that the President and Vice-President shall be removed from office where the National Assembly has indicted and convicted the President or Vice-President by impeachment.
Sub section (2) says the procedure for impeachment shall be laid down by the Standing Orders of Parliament, provided that they are in full accord with the principles of natural justice.
In 2005, Malawi’s Parliament opened debate on impeachment procedures to oust President Bingu wa Mutharika for allegedly violating the Constitution.
The issue of impeachment procedures caused havoc in Parliament during the first term of the Mutharika when some opposition UDF supporters wanted to impeach him on among other grounds that he ditched the party that ushered him into office.
The controversial motion was moved in Parliament by Lucius Banda, who consequently lost his parliamentary seat. Parliamentarians then wanted to impeach the President but the procedures were not yet incorporated into the Standing Orders.
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