Chipani Cha Pfuko asks Malawi leader to declare assets: Respect constitution

Leader of opposition Chipani Cha Pfuko (CCP) Davis Chester Katsonga has added his voice to calls by various stakeholders asking Malawi leader Mrs. Joyce Banda to declare her assets and liabilities.

This comes in the wake of previous calls by several civil society groups and political parties that stressed the need for President Banda to make her assets known as one way of promoting transparency and accountability.

The fears by the civil rights groups and political parties come amid widespread reports that the ruling elite especially Banda’s family and the vice president Khumbo Kachali have become  super rich barely five months into the high office.

Katsonga: Leader of Chipani Cha Pfuko

Meanwhile, Justice Minister and Attorney General Ralph Kasambara is on record as saying that president Banda already declared her assets when she was sworn in as vice president during the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s regime.

However, in a media statement made available to Nyasa Times, Katsonga argued that Kasambara’s assertions are not consistent with the law.

The former speaker of parliament under Bakili Muluzi administration and Foreign Affairs minister during Mutharika’s regime, Katsonga cited a constitutional court case involving former vice president now Energy and Mining minister Dr. Cassim Chilumpha where it was ruled that office of vice president is different from that of the president.

“I have, thus, looked at the issue retrospectively and found that there is a decided case, where the Constitutional Court in this Country, Cause No. 5 of 2006: Dr Cassim Chilumpha VS the State. In this case it was held that the office of Vice President is different from that of the President. The matter then was that, can a serving Vice President be put on trial whilst serving his term of office?” queried Katsonga.

“I am sure it is just possible the Minister forgot about this case otherwise he would advised the President differently. No, I am not suggesting the Minister has poor memory; certainly not! But as they  say, “Kuyiwala kulibe mankhwala”. If this be the case, then the President might just be encouraged to change her position and declare her Assets,” observed Katsonga.

The opposition politician further added that his party expects the Malawi leader to respect the constitution she swore to uphold.

He also asked the Malawi Law Society (MLS) to take up the matter further in an event the president remains arrogant.

“It is simple logic that one would therefore conclude that when the current President became President she should have declared her assets as the new position she was now taking demanded that she did; it is one way of upholding the Republican Constitution – remember that Oath of Office the President took?

“All of us and, particularly those who lead us should make sure that they are not seen by others to be selective in following and respecting the Constitution fully. Chipani Cha Pfuko therefore, concludes that our President, Her Excellency Madam Joyce Banda should declare her assets, besides; it does not take too much time to deal with the documentation, well, unless one has got lots of assets to declare. What is the position of the Malawi Law Society in this matter? Please guide the Nation,” concluded Katsonga.

Both government officials and the State House press office have been reluctant to comment on the issue of  President Banda and her assets.

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