Kaliati rap NGOs over Bingu impeachment demands

Malawi’s  Information and Civic Education Minister, Patricia Kaliati has lambasted Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), for advocating for impeaching President Bingu wa Mutharika, saying they (NGOs) have run out of ideas.

Kaliati was reacting to a story carried out by a local newspaper in which the NGOs were demanding the removal of the Head of State through an impeachment trial for constitutional violations.

The government spokeswoman old Nyasa Timeson Tuesday that the NGOs, particularly Council for Non Government Organizations (CONGOMA) chairperson, Voice Mhone, had run out of ideas and that “if they do not have anything better to do they should just stay quiet”.

KaliatI: No impeachment for Mutharika

“They don’t have tangible issues, they don’t know what they are saying, let them wait until 2014 when the state president Professor Bingu wa Mutharika will step down as his term of office will come to an end and not plotting to oust the president by deliberately wanting to flout impeachment procedures,” said Kaliati, who is also Member of Parliament for Mulanje South-west.

She added that if the NGOs had genuine issues against the President, they should channel them through the Speaker of National Assembly rather than making “wild allegations in the press”.

“Why don’t they consult the Speaker first rather than saying things out of ignorance. The President has the mandate of the people to run this country until 2014; they should wait until 2014,” explained Kaliati.

Kaliati also quashed allegations that the impeachment procedures that might be reviewed in the current sitting of the House are meant to impeach state vice president Joyce Banda Joyce Banda.

“As government we don’t have time for that; as I have already said the civil society organizations have lost direction, they need to consult the Speaker who is better placed because issues to do with law are discussed in the National Assembly,” she said.

The draft impeachment procedures for the President or Vice President proposed to the Legal Affairs Committee can see Parliament remove the two within 30 days of being indicted.

The procedures, which will be section 239 of the Standing Orders 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 Notice of Motion shall contain allegations of serious breaches of the constitution and or written laws by the President or the Vice President. Any signature appended to the notice of motion shall not be withdrawn,” reads section 239 (2) and (3) of the draft procedures in part

Government also proposes that the notice will include a concise statement of provisions of the constitution or written laws that have seriously been violated by the President or Vice President including sufficient particulars of the facts to prove the violations.

When contacted to comment on Kaliati’s accusation, a representative of the NGOs, Executive Director for Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and chairperson for Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), Undule Mwakasungula said he could not say anything  as he was locked up in a meeting.

“I will come back to you later, for now let me consult with my colleagues because this is a contentious issue,” said Mwakasungula before hanging up.

Leader of the House in Parliament, Dr George Chaponda, was quoted in the local media recently as saying civil society groups should not read too much into the reforms of the standing orders and interpret them wrongly, arguing that review of impeachment procedures, which he also vehemently denied as targeting the vice president “is a long process”.

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