President Peter Mutharika, who a few days ago reshuffled his cabinet, has appointed a British citizen Dr Peter Kumpalume as Minister of Health contrary to the laws of Malawi which prohibits people who have allegiance to other countries to hold public office, Nyasa Times has established.
Kumpalume who lived in the UK for many years and naturalised himself as a British citizen used to reside at 76 Vicarage Road, Watford, WD 18 0HD and was a director of Bantu Holding Limited together with Bright Malopa (presidential aide) as well as Med research and a consultant before moving back to Malawi to stand as a Member of Parliament.
The Minister has not provided any evidence of renunciation of his British Citizenship. Searches in England have found no trace of such a renunciation.
President Mutharika, himself a law Professor, has violated the Malawi Constitution by hiring and swearing in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Blantyre West Member of Parliament Kumpalume, a biochemist and chemical engineer into his cabinet .
He become new Health Minister replacing Jean Kalirani, a medical doctor who has since been relocated to ministry of Home Affairs and internal security against a strong backdrop that Kumpalume is a naturalised British national.
According to legal experts the newly appointed health minister is in breach of both the immigration law and the penal code if he indeed owe his allegiance to another country and if he gave false information to public officer in order for him to be appointed or elected into a public office.
Blantyre-based private practice lawyer John-Gift Mwakhwawa told Nyasa Times in an interview Thursday that the Malawian Constitution prohibits anyone to hold a public office if that person owes his allegiance to another country.
“Clearly if one holds a British passport or indeed any other passport he or she cannot be appointed as minister in Malawi. Again, it is a criminal offence punishable by law to give false information to a public officer,” said Mwakhwawa.
Mwakhwawa stated that Section 94 subsection (1) of the Republican Constitution gives power to the President shall have the power to appoint Ministers or Deputy Ministers and to fill vacancies in the Cabinet.
“But the constitution is very clear as to who he or she the president can appoint. Section 94 (2) of the Malawi Constitution says a person shall not be qualified to be appointed as a Minister or Deputy Minister unless that person is a citizen of the of the Republic who upon taking office, has attained the age of twenty-one years and that, that person is able to speak and [to] read the English language,” said Mwakhwawa.
Mwakhwawa added: “Dual citizenship is not allowed in Malawi and therefore if a person holds a Malawian passport and another country’s nationality at the same time he or she may be committing some offences both under the immigration laws and penal code.”
According to Mwakhwawa, the Malawi constitution further stipulates that no person shall be qualified to be appointed as a Minister or Deputy Minister who owes allegiance to a foreign country and that means that anyone who is appointed to a public office such as Member of Parliament.
“Under the constitution one cannot be nominated or elected to parliament if he is not citizen of Malawi and if he is not a registered voter. Similarly, one cannot be nominated or elected if he owes allegiance to another foreign country.” If one is appointed while holding another country’s passport both the appointing authority and the appointee will have violated the constitution,” said Mwakhwawa.
Nyasa Times investigations indicates that Kumpalume was born on 1st March, 1971 in Malawi and went to Ntcheu Secondary school before being selected to University of Malawi’s Chancellor College in Zomba before moving to the UK for further studies at the University of Cambridge.
Observers said the President as lawyer must be in the forefront in defending the Republican constitution arguing that he needs to have all people properly vetted before appointing or hiring them into public offices.
One commentator on social media (Facebook) mocked President for appointing Kumpalume in his cabinet saying: “After the Vice president’s cryptic remarks on keeping domestic snakes and the president later appoints into his cabinet a new health minister whose post doctoral research work, at Cambridge University, was on snake bites. Was the president responding to the VP?”
Social commentator Stanley Onjezani Kenani wrote on Facebook: “Personally, I have no problem with that, as long as he is a Malawian wishing to contribute to the development of his country. What I have a problem with is that there are scores of Malawians in Dr Kumpalume’s situation, wishing to contribute to their country but failing to do so because our laws prohibit dual citizenship.”
A senior Immigration officer told Nyasa Times that they have no record that Kumpalume obtained another nationality because ‘he did not disclose anything to the Malawian immigration authorities.
“It is a crime to hold two passports. Dual citizenship is not allowed in Malawi, not for now. As far as we are aware there is no record of honourable Kumpalume denouncing his British passport. It is news to us that he owes his allegiance to another country,” said the source at Immigration Headquarters.
A quick search into various search engines on the web indicates that Peter Kumpalume is a British National:http://www.checkcompany.co.uk/director/1140095/DR-PETER-KUMPALUME
There is no record on search engines on the web that says that he is a Malawian by nationality.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :