‘CSOs should move on’: President can’t be forced to fire minister

The  decision by the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal  that has reversed a High Court order that sought to compel President Peter Mutharika to fire his then Cabinet minister George Chaponda in connection with a controversial maize import deal in 2017 is inorder, a local daily has stated in an editorial urging  some civil society organisations (CSOs) that took up the matter to move on.

Mutharika eventually removed Chaponda (R) from Cabinet

The leading daily, The Nation,  in an extended coverage of their reporting of the Supreme Court of Appeal sitting in Lilongwe which  Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda said there was no judicial provision giving the Judiciary the mandate to interfere in decisions of the presidency regarding appointment and removal of Cabinet members, said in an editorial comment that the CSOs  should not feell disappointed ornlet down.

“In fact, the judgement has not in any way reinvented the wheel. It has just emphasised and interpreted twhat the laws in this country provide,” reads the comment in part.

In the ruling, Nyirenda said: “It is not courts’ business to go as far as suggesting who should be appointed, removed or suspended from the office of minister.

“We cannot force a Cabinet minister to resign from office as that is a political decision for an individual minister to make where the individual minister is embroiled in a scandal.”

The editorial  agreed with the court  that it is right   to state that appointments to the Cabinet are the preserve of prerogative of the President as provided in the Constitution, saying  such decisions are political and  it would be a recipe for chaos if the courts were to grant petitioners their wishes to pressure the President to fire, suspend or otherwsise act on a member of Cabinet suspected of wrong-doing.

Mzuzu-based Youth and Society (YAS) executive director Charles Kajaloweka has since been commended by the paper  for taking up the matter to court, said the CSOs did  “the needful in seeking the judician interpretation of the situation.” It said the judgement should be a learning point and energise them “to continue to fight for the best interest of Malawians.”

All in all, the paper said the President and all people holding public office should be accountable to the people who entrusted them with such offices.

“This is the reason we way that where things are going wrong or indeed there are some doubts, the CSOs anf all citizens should rise up and speak out in every legal manner possible, including peaceful demonstrations,” concluded the editorial.

However, Kajoloweka  said it was unfortunate that the court has ordered him  to personally bear all costs incurred during the case.

“Our strongest belief is that the courts should be the last institution to discourage the public taking matters of their own interest for review if they have to do so. We will go back and study the judgement.

“Our view is how many cases we win, but counting on number of times we have taken to challenge corruption in the country,”Kajoloweka said in quotes reported by the paper.

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3 years ago

The Nation is right for a change, and really without taking sides. Surprise! How often can we tolerate frivolous law suits against the government or its officials by CSOs, abale inu? So, Kajoloweka has to pay, personally – not from his CSO account – and that should teach him and others a lesson about not wasting the Court’s time. Kajoloweka should have known, or consulted and known, what the law says or implies; ignorance is never an excuse in law. If he wants to change the law or the procedures, then he should go to Parliament and effect the change(s).… Read more »

3 years ago

Ukaziyamba limbanazo.You will pay the money personally as per court determination. Did you not know that court judgement could be either way to shoulder the costs or not. If you looked at just one option, then it was poor judgement. Mwambi walero, Ntchentche yopupuluma inaphinzidwa ndi ………..

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