Outraged civil society organnisations in Malawi are requesting the Germany embassy in Lilongwe to cancel Visa for Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda, who is currently on forced leave of office following an injunction granted by the High Court restraining him from performing official duties after he sneaked out to Germany on official duties.
Ms. Khadi Camara, who is German-African Business Association (Gaba) project manager for Southern and Eastern Africa, confirmed Chaponda’s arrival in Berlin.
Chaponda’s trip could be in direct contravention of the High Court order granted by Justice John Chirwa restraining him from carrying out his duties until findings of a commission of inquiry into the controversial purchase of maize from Zambia are concluded.
Robert Mkwezalamba, board chairman of Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) said the CSOs will be commencing legal action for contempt of court on Chaponda.
“We want the Germany embassy to help us by canceling his visa so that he should be coming back as soon as possible. Germany cannot allow a person who disregards the law in his country to stay there,” Mkwezalamba said.
He said lawyer Wesley Namasala will be knocking on Mzuzu High Court doors seeking action on Chaponda for disobeying a court order.
Malawi Law Society (MLS) honorary secretary Khumbo Soko said if Chaponda is on official duties, then the minister is guilty of contempt of court.
German Ambassador Jurgen Borsch confirmed that Chaponda had had a long-standing invitation from the German Government through the German Minister of Agriculture in December last year for a conference in Germany.
But speaking on Times Debate program on Times Radio, Soko said: “It does not matter if the trim was organised befofe the court order but it it has been effecred while the order us existing, they (Chaponda and officials who facilitated his trip) are on the wrong side of the law.”.
He added: “We know that such a trip cannot be without the approval of the highest authority. So, whoever approved this trip while thay are aware of the court order, has violated the the law.”, either the President or other seniors in the office of President and Cabinet, because no on eis above the law.”
President Peter Mutharika and Chaponda are all law experts.
Law society boss said the Mutharika-led government us sending wrong message to Malawians on court orders as people might follow its steps and start disrespecting orders from the courts.
“This is clearly contempt of court,” said Soko.
Principal Secretary for Agriculture Erica Maganga told parliamentary inquiry into the manner in which Admarc procured maize from Zambia that she approved and facilitated the trip but said the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has the final determination.
In a post on Facebook, Chaponda said his trip was sanctioned by the Head of State.
Livingstonia Church and Society Programme coordinator Moses Mkandawire, whose organisation was one of the civil society groups that petitioned the courts on the injunction said the group will “ move the courts” against “executive impunity” which he said is a threat to democracy and rule of law.”
Civil rights activist Gift Trapence, who is also executive director of Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) said a case of contempt of court against Chaponda will be lodged in the courts.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :