Chakwera set on deconstructing presidency’s powers: ‘Demand Malawi MPs vote for legislative changes‘

President Lazarus Chakwera has said he taken administrative steps to reduce presidential powers but urged Malawians  – through his radio national address on Saturday night – to support his plan  and realise the goal he has set was not mere talk as was the case before with his predecessors.

President Chakwera: Firm to trim powers

Chakwera  – who promised to reduce his presidential powers in a campaign – pointed out that  a president in Malawi has too many decisions to make and has too much appointing power and that he means his word on the promise.

“I do not say something unless I mean to do it. But to get this done. I need your support. The reduction of presidential powers is a collective effort,” said Chakwera in his radio address statement.

“As such, it is important that we all understand what these powers are . In summary, the presidency has kinds of powers . The first category of powers a president has is positional,” he said.

In his third weekly program on Saturday on state controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Chakwera says the presidency has four powers.

He said the first category of powers a president has is positional, saying there are certain positions and offices that are reserved for the president alone, such as the position of Head of State, Head of government and commanfder-in-chief of the Armed Forces.

“However, I believe it is time we reviewed the merits of having the president also occupy an office like the Chancellor of the public university.

“This is a relic from a bygone era that we need to part with, for I know of no free country at the helm of an educational institution that exists to produce free thinkers,” he said.

He also said there is need to trim the executive powers of the president, saying there are too many decisions made by a president.

Chakwera said having a presidency that makes too many decisions has created problems for the country for a long time.

“There must be decisions that when made by parliament are final, and even where the president has the power to veto such decisions, he should no longer be allowed to sabotage the governance framework by sitting on the decision,” he said.

Chakwera also said there is an anomaly that the president has to appoint officials from Judiciary, to the legislature, to the executive, to constitutionally mandated institutions designed to operate independently, boards of statutory corporations, foreign embassies and traditional leaders.

“This is unwise. No person is good or humble enough to be entrusted with that much appointing power, for it is not possible for a president to be the appointing authority of that many offices without at some point coming face to face with conflict of interest,” he said.

Some presidential powers governance activists have demanded to have them reduced is the President’s authority to appoint heads of some institutions such asAnti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Malawi Defence Force, Malawi Police Service, among others.

Chakwera expressed his firm position that his administration will reduce the powers a President has in making appointments.

Chakwera also said Malawians need to review their behavior towards the president.

“This includes how we address a president, how many times a president is mentioned in salutations at a single event, how many cars and firepower a president’s convoy has,” he said.

He said there was need to review the culture of a sitting president using state vehicles and state security during political campaign.

Chakwera has since asked Malawians to demand the Members of Parliament to vote for these changes so that the powers of governance institutions that serve the people directly increase and the powers of the president decrease.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Titus Mvalo, asked about progress on the issue of Chakwera’s intentions to reduce presidential powers, said there are procedures that have to be undertaken and it’s a process.

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Dzonzi
1 year ago

People who have gotten used to abuse, oppression or ignorance get entrenched in it to the extent that being pulled out of it becomes threatening. They would rather continue to be under the poor conditions they have always lived by. You can observe this in most of the comments here.

Ngombwax
Ngombwax
1 year ago

Just listened to part of the president’s interview on Zodiak, and alarm bells started flashing. He was asked if the govt would place a cap on how much duty-free stuff can be imported by the president in light of what APM did, and Laz sort of deflected a bit. He said that if the current law could be respected, then there would be no abuse of the privilege. Basically, the president was saying that, if the spirit of the law can be followed, then there would be no abuse of the act. (I believe he’s referring to the highly subjective… Read more »

Zaya
Zaya
1 year ago
Reply to  Ngombwax

That’s not true, but any way it is your opinion.

Wiza
Wiza
1 year ago

Good move Mr president since Malawians are being involved on the proposed changes. I can see that Malawi is moving towards clean politics which can be achieved to a sustainable level by engaging Malawians as started by the president. Can foresee a Malawi with independent and accountable government entities. Malawi shall have good governance systems

Che Sadulo
Che Sadulo
1 year ago

@Masharubu, I agree with you 100%. Most parastatals are failing to function because Boards were dissolved over a month ago. And the President has forgotten to appoint new ones. Things are at a standstill in the country and the Presidents only concern is to continue making campaign speeches.

Mfumu yaikazi kuchigwa
Mfumu yaikazi kuchigwa
1 year ago

Mr President your idea shows me that you are not a good steward. if you think you are a good steward then there is no need to change. But if you think you might be found on the wrong after abusing the powers then change. One aspect missing in your language and statements from your office mr president is political science language: give order to all people around you to start reading about politics and biographies so that you should know what is important in presidency. all positions below you are delegated. delegate to the right people to decide. You… Read more »

Tutu
1 year ago

Chakwera is now foolishly thinking Malawiains are interested in TOO much talk.

Nyau
Nyau
1 year ago

And how may jobs this reform will create? And is this a priority at the moment? Chakwela, tapanga zoti zioneke wanva? Next talk about agriculture or health policy issues, si izi za ziiii Mxxx oR talk about your plans to grow the economy or generate power.

Masharubu
Masharubu
1 year ago

The Chakwera presidency seems to be preoccupied with PR issues at the expense of taking practical steps to govern. It feels like an extension of the campaign period where politically palatable things were said to please the masses. There are people out there who are still suffering from the effects of some of the ousted DPP government’s policies who are waiting to see those policies changed or reversed, but nothing is happening some 40 or so days into the life of the new government. All we are fed with are nice sounding PR stunts. Enough of the PR please!! When… Read more »

Antimatter
Antimatter
1 year ago
Reply to  Masharubu

This is governing. You think these ideas are just coming out of thin air?
The first step is a strategy session then communicating that strategy before execution. 101 stuff.

Joseph Mwakibinga
Joseph Mwakibinga
1 year ago

Hopefully the intended de-construction after having been effected will be implemented during Chakwera’s term of office. You don’t de-construct and let others undertake the trial and error sort of policies. Much as some of the points brought up make sense, it would be advisable to consult widely from those who have the technical knowhow. As stipulated in my earlier contribution; it pays to take a step at a time. If you try to do everything all at once, the whole exercise will be muddled up and once again those who come in after yourselves will do the same clean-up exercise.

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