President Peter Mutharika has told Public Affairs Committee (PAC) officials that he is not reducing his executive powers, arguing he has an obligation to protect the office of the President for future leaders.
Mutharika said this on Thursday in a lively, frank and transparent meeting with PAC officials at Kamuzu Palace attended by almost all cabinet ministers, all presidential advisors and senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials and beamed live on state controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.
“I have the mandate to protect this office for future presidents. If you take off the powers of the president appointing senior government officials like ambassadors, MBC director general, Macra director general, then what will the president be doing, what will be his job then,” Mutharika asked rhetorically.
He said elsewhere, even in UK, the Prime Ministers appoints the director general of the BBC so too in US where the president appoints a director general of an organization similar to Macra.
He said there is no way parliament should be given the mandate to appoint the graft busting body, Anti Corruption Bureau and office of the director of public prosecutions chiefs, arguing how independent is parliament, saying it can have its own dictatorial tendencies within democracy.
Mutharika conceded to have made pre-election promises on the independence of the government institutions and that these are also reflected in the DPP manifesto but the political terrain has changed now.
The President also said there is nowhere in the world where parliament can be fully autonomous with its own budget, saying the three arms of government check on each other.
“If we do that, there can be abuses at parliament. How sure are you that parliament cannot abuse its powers and resources? This arrangement is good, parliament makes checks and balances on the executive, the executive makes the checks and balances on parliament,” he said.
On the economy, Mutharika was upbeat that the economy would improve soon, saying he had not travelled outside the country since December as a costing cutting measure.
“I was supposed to go to UK, South Africa and Turkey but cancelled the trips. I was supposed to give six lectures but cancelled because of the state of our economy” he said.
He however predicted the economy would be worse than last year because of anticipated high inflation rate due to severe shortages of the staple food, maize.
The President also described as untrue PAC recommendation that development is not spread evenly in the country, saying his government gives development to areas on merit not on tribal or regional point of view.
“I went to China where we were given seven major development projects. Out of the first five which we are starting, three will be here in the centre, one in the south and another one in the north. I know you want to say that I favour the south because that is where I come from but that is not true,” he said.
He listed a number of development programmes the DPP led government has done or intend to do in the north including the Livingstonia Njakwa road a teachers training college in Rumphi among others.
PAC chair Felix Chingota asked the President that technical committees from both the government and PAC be formed so that they meet as soon as they can to go into detail the recommendations from PAC.
The President was not told to resign as demanded by some political parties at the PAC indaba in February.
Mutharika was on same occasions assisted to answer the questions by some of his cabinet members and his aides who included Samuel Tembenu, minister of Justice, George Chaonda, minister of Agriculture ad aides Francis Mphepo, Hetherwick Ntaba and Collins Magalasi among others.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :