Malawi on standstill: Presidential immunity haunt President Chakwera

Thousands of ‘angry but peaceful ‘protesters on Thursday stormed the streets in the Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Blantyre, Zomba and others districts to force President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to scrap off presidential immunity.

The countrywide ‘Anti-Presidential Immunity’ protests were organised by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) such as Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiative (CDEDI), Centre for Democracy Watch (CDW) and Mzuzu Young Caucus.

In all the districts the peaceful marchers were accompanied by ‘heavily armed’ Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers and police officers; and all the three cities were being patrolled by armed men.

In some districts such as Balaka and Lilongwe city the police tried to stop the peaceful demonstrators by firing tear gas but the protesters proceeded with their peaceful demonstrations.

Speaking after delivering a petition to President Chakwera through Zomba District Commission’s Office, CDEDI representative Joseph Phakameya said Chakwera must trim his powers as promised during the campaign period.

According to Phakameya, CDEDI will continue to mobilize the masses across the country if president Chakwera decides not to trim his powers and address some of the challenges Malawians are facing such high costs of living.

“Malawians want President Chakwera to remove his presidential immunity as he promised during the campaign,” said Phakameya adding that: “If he doesn’t want to trim his powers then he must step down.”

Eelier this month, Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima also asked President Chakwera to implement the campaign promise to amend Section 91(2) of the Constitution to do away with the provision that protects the country’s President from criminal prosecution.

In an interview recently with Nation Online, Political analyst Ernest Thindwa said all citizens are equal before the law and if the country is keen to uproot corruption, removing presidential immunity is “a necessary gigantic step”.

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