Chakwera on trimming presidential powers: Parliament to nominate ACB boss, academia to run Malawi universities 

President Lazarus Chakwera has detailed his decision to reduce presidential powers  in an effort to empower the citizens targeting appointment of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) boss and chancellorship of public universities.

President Chakwera and Vice President Saulos Chilima captured in Palriament on Thursday during His Excellency’s  Question Time (HEQ) -pic by Lisa Kadango, Mana

Chakwera made the pronouncement during question time in Parliament on Thursday.

Trimming presidential powers was among the campaign promises Chakwera made during political rallies that helped him defeat former President Peter Mutharika in the June 23 presidential election re-run.

Responding to a question from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)  MP for Chikwawa North Owen Chomanika on trimming presidential powers, Chakwera said he was committed to the cause.

“In a nutshell, there is a one Executive power, one administrartive power and one ceremonial power I propose to dispense with without crippling the functionality of the Presidency,” he said.

On ACB’s independence, Chakwera said he will move to have a situation where the director should not be appointed by the Executive but identified through Parliament.

“Parliament will interview several potential people and submit three names to the president for approval,” he said.

The President said this will enable ACB  to operate freely and independently to fulfill its constitutional mandate.

He also said, as part of making public universities independent from the Executive, the role of chancellor of public university will be left to the academia, as one way of empowering them.

Chakwera also added that he will not control cash flow of Parliament and ensure that is ring-fenced and Parliament is subject to its own audit.

Social commentator Humphrey Mvula supports the move, saying excess presidential powers have long made the presidents in Malawi not accountable to anyone.

“They have done what they so wished. They employed cronies, relatives, home-mates, tribesmen and all manner of individuals because there is no vetting process. They have decided to vary rules and regulations at whim,” Mvula said .

Edge Kanyongolo a, legal expert at the University of Malawi, said trimming presidential powers is the only thing Malawi can do to consolidate its democracy.

Some presidential powers governance activists have demanded to have them reduced is the President’s authority to appoint heads of Malawi Defence Force, Malawi Police Service, among others.

Chakwera said: “I hold that all candidates for public offices that are subject to confirmation by the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament be interviewed publicly.”

Despite pledging to reduce his presidential powers in a campaign promise of 2014, his predecessor Peter Mutharika changed tune when he assumed office after his campaign victory and never implemented the reforms.

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President Chisokonezo
9 months ago

But on the choice through interviews has been problematic with the auditor general appointment, up to now there is no auditor general because there is an interview, three people are chosen and the president choose one, so I think it will also affect ACB

9 months ago

Yakuwawani Abakha

Hezekiya mlabani
Hezekiya mlabani
9 months ago

Tell saulos to stop harassing MIM, since he is not in the acadamia. Wachiwiri wanu bwana ndi chonsanva

9 months ago

Hahaha it does not require a President for parliament to rewrite the act of the ACB and change provisions for appointment of a director. Did you go to parliament to legislate or answer questions?Don’t mingle in parliamentary affairs by sneaking in parliamentary business agenda uku ndiye kulowelela ntchito ya eni. Just a simple reminder to you and your SPC Ku OPC paja mudati working hours muzasintha kuti wanthu aziyamba 9:00 am namaweluka 16:30hrs tayambani ndi imeneyi. Sizongofunika gazetting mu MPSR basi.Timati harvesting low hanging fruits chizungu chake. Tudikilabe duty free week.

9 months ago

Cut the state house budget.

What about the president’s almost unlimited power to appoint special ‘advisers’ and spokesperson etc etc.

In many developed countries this is also a problem.

They are not under any scrutiny from Parliament or anyone.

Their roles are often vaguely defined, and they often use their positions to enrich themselves or others.

At the very least there should be a limit to these positions and their salaries etc should be made public.

A lot of dirty business goes under the radar under the blessings of ‘State House’

Zio ine
Zio ine
9 months ago

The best is to engage private audit firms to do the recruitment. Even if a person is recruited by parliament he will not be independent. We have witnessed how the Assets director behaves. He spares poli5icians from reprimand because he owes them his appointment.

Destroyer of liars
9 months ago

What about powers of removing the appointed executives of thses governance institutions? Will the president still retain these powers? It’s the power to remove and not to appoint that scares these executives in discharging their duties. Unless these powers are removed from the president nothing will change.

Mwini muzi
9 months ago

If trimming of the powers to appoint also includes trimming of the powers of influence directly or indirectly, then that’s ok. Who will however monitor that the President is not exerting influence?

Ghengis Khan
9 months ago

This is not sufficient. All parastatal directors should be recruited by parliament, with minimum qualifications and experience gazetted.

Do not politicise universities. Leave them out, they have been relatively independent.

Alex mgeni
Alex mgeni
9 months ago

Now we have a president. A chamba aja amatichedwesa.

9 months ago
Reply to  Alex mgeni

Very true

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