Katsonga proposes to remove immunity of President

Presidential aspirant for Chipani Cha Pfuko Davis Chester Katsonga, has proposed that next parliament should remove the immunity from prosecution from criminal offences for persons occupying the position of president, saying if elected to power he will advance such a move.

The immunity clause, as currently enshrined in the country’s constitution, allows the President protection from prosecution while in office.

Katsonga, a former Speaker of Parliament, told Nyasa Times that   ensure the fight against corruption from top to bottom, the immunity should be removed.

Davis Katsonga: President should be prosecuted
Davis Katsonga: President should be prosecuted

He said corruption fight was being hampered because of the exisiting laws which pointed out among them was immunity clause of a Head of State from prosecution.

Katsonga also faulted Malawi’s rules and procedures  or the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), saying thue do not have independent powers to prosecute.

“They investigate cases and at the end of that they send the information gathered, perhaps with recommendations to the Department of Public Prosecutions under the Ministry of Justice. Imagine what happens when the person(s) being investigated is a top party official from a ruling party, a government minister and even a president of Malawi; do you expect the Department of Public Prosecutions to give a nod for a trial to commence? Not likely. ACB needs to have powers to prosecute,” said  Katsonga .

“I also think if a president has broken the law he/she must be tried immediately; we should not wait until the tenure of office is over. The President of the republic must not have powers to appoint the Inspector General of Police nor the Chief Justice,” said Katsonga.

His comments add to the growing chorus of reducing the presidential powers.

Malawi quasi religious organisation, the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), is also campaigning for the limitation of presidential powers .

In his comments, University of Malawi law professor Edge Kanyongolo said powers of the president should be trimmed in order to avoid concentrating too much power in one office.

“It is possible to reduce presidential powers by amending the law,” he said.

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