Malawi Law Society queries Attorney General’s political party role

Attorney General (AG) Charles Mhango’s active involvement in frontline politics, where he doubles as legal adviser for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), raises  “legitimate and practical questions”, Malawi Law Society has stated.

Attorney General Charles Mhango: Faulted on his partisan politics

The Malawi Constitution, in Section 98(1) considers the Attorney General as the ‘principal legal adviser to government’ responsible for advising the Government on all legal matters and conducts civil litigation for and on behalf of the Government.

Mhango is on campaign roll for DPP ahead of next year’s Tripartite elections  and has also declared his interest to contest as legislator for Rumphi Central Constituency to face Aford president and current  member of Parliament (MP) Enoch Chakufwa Chihana.

Law Society honorary secretary Micheal Goba Chipeta said Mhango as Attorney General is  the principal legal adviser to all the branches of the government – the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary – therefore  he is required\2 to discharge his duties and to conduct  himself in an impartial manner and in a manner which indicates that he is alive to his ethical duty to be professionally independent.”

Secretary General for the main opposition party—MCP Gustave Kaliwo, who is also a lawyer, agrees with calls to change the law to have someone without clear and perceived political affiliation to hold the office of the AG for them to work impartially.

“Much as I have a lot of respect for Mr. Charles Mhango, we are talking of the office and not the individual and when we are talking of the office, definitely the Malawi Congress Party doesn’t want to get legal advice from the legal advisor of the DPP. No matter how independent he maybe, we will have problems with that and I am sure that this is the feeling of other political parties as well. That is not to undermine the president’s prerogative to appoint the attorney general but if he wants to inspire confidence in that office then we need someone who is not typically a politician with a clear affiliation to a party,” said Kaliwo as quoted in the press.

But  Mhango said he is not the first one to be in that position while still active in mainstream politics, saying the law permits such a situation.

He said the argument against him would only be justifiable in a case where someone can prove that he has not provided fair advice say to Parliament or members of the House because of his affiliation to the DPP.

“In my scenario, the political party I am giving advice to is a ruling party; therefore, I do not see any conflict of interest. However, in my advice as Charles Mhango, I do not show my party colours because I advise the Speaker, I advise the Chief Justice and I advise all the three arms of government. I don’t, in my work, demonstrate any party colours,” he said as quoted by Weekend Nation

Private practice lawyer Justin Dzonzi shares fears that the AG’s affiliation to the ruling party undermines his role as a principal legal adviser to government

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Hlabezulu Ngonoonda
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Hlabezulu Ngonoonda

MCP Secretary General Mr. Gustav Kaliwo’s observation is correct that the law should be changed in order that someone without clear and perceived political affiliation should hold the office of the AG for him to work impartially. For the time being let aggrieved parties seek a judicial review of his impartiality if amending that law is a mirage. Just thinking aloud …

Remnant
Guest
Remnant

If the learned are doing this then we are doomed. I am really disappointed.

A Real Northerner
Guest
A Real Northerner

Chitsiru ichi. Sichingawinenso chisankho ichi.

Yahya Yahya Jammeh
Guest

Please don’t blame Mhango, but rather blame Peter who appointed him. When the President made a decision to appoint him as AG he ((APM) already knew Mhango’s ambitions. So you can see how Lawyers are blundering and messing up governance system.

Angel of Doom
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Angel of Doom

The Attorney General in the United Kingdom, whose laws we still use, is a Cabinet minister.

wakikiki
Guest

Amalawi tili mmavuto osaneneka ndi ulamulilo wa DPP coz aliyense amene akugwira ntchito za dziko afuna apange za chipani

Wa Mwale
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Wa Mwale

Foolish learned people always find an excuse on every evil they are doing. This is why Malawi has remained this poorer for 50years. Doubling stands, same person pleasing ruling party, same person trying to be an independent office.

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