Chaponda confirms impeachment drive

Malawi’s Vice President Joyce Banda will face impeachment in parliament as leader of the House, George Chaponda has acknowledged that government has indeed  mooted the idea to complete impeachment procedures.

Earlier reports indicated government has so far drafted procedures in the Standing Orders on how to remove a sitting President or Vice President.

It was feared government was targetting Vice President .

Chaponda, who is leader of business in parliament and an eminent lawyer,  confirmed on Capital FM Straight Talkinterview programme with Brian Banda that indeed they want to  put procedures of impeachment.

Chaponda: Impeachment is on

He disclosed that the draft procedures havebeen presented to the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament.

“We are reviewing our standing orders and this is nothing strange it is provided in our constitutions,” said Chaponda who is also minister of education.

The impeachment procuderers were initiated by the former ruling UDF when it wanted to impeach President Bingu wa Mutharika in his first term on  charges of going against the constitution.

Government rushed to court to halt the proceedings arguing thatthe procedures are unconstitutional. The government also went on a crackdown on the mover of the motion Lucius Banda, who was arrested and convicted. Another MP, Ibrahim Milanzi was also prosecuted on politicaly insipired charges.

Meanwhile, the government which has now an absolute majority say the impeachment procedures are indeed necessary and plan to use the same to oust  Vice President, who is leading her People’s Party after being expelled from  DPP when she opposed President’s brother Peter, to inherit power in 2014.

Pressed by Banda on the reports that the impeachment is targeting the Vice President, Chaponda responded: “It is your interpretation.”

He added: “Those architechs of our constitution in their wisdom provided in their constitution that there should be impeachment procedures. We are following the constitution.”

Chaponda said: “We are reviewing our standing orders. This issue is an entrenched provision in our constitution.”

The Malawi Constitution under Section 86 says, the President or the first Vice President shall be removed from office where the President or the first Vice President has been indicted or convicted by impeachment.

The constitution further states that indictment and conviction by impeachment shall only be on the grounds of “serious violation” of the Constitution or a “serious breach of the written laws of the Republic” that either occurred or came to light during the term of office of the President or the first Vice President.

A constitutional analyst at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College said impeachment is a “due process of the law” but said the Vice President has not done anything that amount to a serious violation of the Constitution.

The analyst said, if anything, President Mutharika is the one who has seriously violated the Constitution.

Commentators doubt that serious minded MPs would support the motion to impeach “the Vice President.”

The procedures will only require a member to move a motion to indict the President or Vice President for impeachment shall give notice of intention signed by one third of Members of the Assembly to the Office of the Speaker, 7 days before the motion.

The procedures say Speaker of Parliament shall within 24 hours issue writ of summons to the accused President or Vice President, reciting serious violation and notifying him or her to appear before the National Assembly within seven days for an impeachment trial.

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