President Peter Mutharika has refused to endorse Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya’s preferred candidate as new Clerk of Parliament (CoP), Judge designated at Industrial court, Charles Ching’anya Mkandawire, demanding to see a report of interview results, Nyasa Times understand.
The President is reportedly suspecting that a list of wrong candidates may have been sent to him to endorse.
The National Assembly is set to have a permanent CoP when President Mutharika approves the selection by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).
“The President doesn’t want to endorse something he doesn’t know. He knows the clerk of Parliament is a very important one and caution must be taken when appointing the person to occupy it. He wants the person that will be appointed to be picked on merit and not on favouritism, bias or nepotism,” Nyasa Times sources familiar with the matter said.
Mutharika wants to do the right thing by endorsing the candidate who did well in the interviews than the rest.
PSC is looking for a CoP who would be willing to work with all members of Parliament (MPs), motivate parliamentary service staff and develop and maintain good public relations.
On 5th October 2015, the Malawi National Assembly conducted interviews to fill for the vacant office of Clerk of Parliament and the Speaker said PSC processed the results to give the Head of State.
“As the law prescribes that the President will appoint [Clerk of Parliament] and when that appointment is made, I am sure the press would be told who the new CoP is,” said Msowoya.
Investigations by Nyasa Times has revealed that a week before the interviews the Speaker of Parliament, who is also vice president of the main opposition party MCP, had been posturing and lobbying for Justice Mkandawire.
The Speaker, who chairs PSC, together with the head of Human Resource at Parliament, Emmans Mwale are accused of tailor-making the interviews to suit Ching’anya and ensure that all the other candidates fail to secure the job.
Investigations into the matter indicate that the panel of interviewers included the Speaker, People’s Party (PP) vice president MP Ralph Jooma, MCP’s lawmaker Lingson Belekanyama, Parliament’s head of Human Resource Emmans Mwale, and experienced legal expert who is Supreme Court Judge, Anthony Kamanga.
Results of the interviews revealed Judge Charles Ching’anya Mkandawire came first out of the competitors, seconded by human rights lawyer, Grace Malera who is currently the executive secretary for Malawi Human Rights Commission and former director of Legal Aid in Malawi.
The Speaker is said to have orchestrated the unjust disqualification of some of Malawi’s most highly regarded lawyers and public servants with impeccable leadership track records; Fiona Kalemba (Chief Legislative Counsel at Ministry of Justice), Gertrude Hiwa (Law Commissioner), Grace Malera (Executive secretary for MHRC and former director of Legal Aid), Arthur Nanthuru (Former Chief State Advocate, former Legal Aid Advocate and former Commissioner of the Electoral Commission).
The other candidate was private practice lawyer and Football Association of Malawi Competitions Chairpersons, Jabber Alide.
Msowoya confirmed the position attracted several candidates—most of them well-known Malawians who want to associate themselves with the National Assembly.
There are fears of financial abuses at parliament and the appointment of new clerk will help to manage the situation.
According to Section 55 of the Constitution and Section 16 of the Parliamentary Service Act, the CoP is responsible for managing operations of Parliament, providing procedural advice on parliamentary laws to committees, among others.
While a CoP is appointed by the President following recommendations from the PSC, the clerk works under the direction of the Speaker.
Following the removal of Matilda Katopola in 2012, Roosevelt Gondwe was CoP in acting capacity for the past two years before his retirement earlier this year.
Katopola lost favour with MPs after she was alleged to have dubiously awarded a Parliament contract to her own company while enforcing strict financial discipline in the institution.
She was sent on forced leave in May 2012 before then president Joyce Banda recalled her a month later, but she refused and sued government for constructive dismissal to claim at least K500 million in damages.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :