Civil society organisations (CSOs) are pressing for an emergency Parliament meeting so that President Peter Mutharika can be summoned to answer impeachment charges over allegations that he may have benefitted from K145 million that a supplier involved in the K2.7 billion Malawi Police food rations scam deposited in a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) account for which he is the sole signatory.
Under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), the CSOs have written Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya to call for an emergency for an impeachment trial of the President in line with Section 86 of the country’s constitution
The impeachment on grounds that Mutharika has seriously breached the Constitution and has breached written laws of Malawi—if successful—would be a first for Africa.
The Speaker has advised the CSOs to first identify a legislator who would lodge a notice of motion on the matter in accordance with Standing Order 208 of the National Assembly.
“I have the honour to advise you that the Rules of the House require that a Member of Parliament should bring a motion on the matter for debate by the House,” said the Speaker in response to CSOs letter.
“In this regard, you may wish to identify a Member of Parliament to submit a notice of motion on the subject matter in accordance with Standing Order 208 of the National Assembly. Please accept assurances of the highest consideration.”
The process will require charges being pressed for the President to appear in Parliament and stand trial where he can be defended by lawyers as is a court process.
A formal vote on the impeachment motion is then to be taken shortly afterwards and would require a two-thirds majority in a secret ballot to be adopted.
After that, Mutharika will face an impeachment tribunal, which is to take the final decision on his fate.
State House spokesman has said the move to impeach the President will not succeed.
While government and ruling DPP spokesman Nicholas Dausi dismissed the CSOs that they cannot move an impeachment process.
“The CSOs do not have locus standi (sufficient interest) to make an impeachment move,” said Dausi.
But law expert from University of Malawi Edge Kanyongolo explained that citizens have the right to demand anything legal including an impeachment.
However, the laws governing the summoning Parliament entails that the Speaker can call for a sitting in consultation with the President.
The impeachment calls comes amidst an investigative report of Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on the alleged Malawi Police Service (MPS) food rations fraud and the K145 million deposited in the DPP account.
The money is suspected to be part of proceeds of payment from Police to Pioneer Investments—a firm ACB suspects fraudulently supplied food rations.
The bureau also alleges that the bill was inflated from the contract price of K2.327 billion to K2.8 billion days after it was signed in August 2015.
Earlier, State House spokesman Mgeme Kalilani explained the alleged K145 million that Karim deposited into the DPP account was among donations deposited into the party’s headquarters construction project account.
Kalilani said at the time Mutharika had no knowledge of the ACB investigations on transactions involving Police and Pioneer Investments.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :