Malawi political scientist pushes for independent body on assets declaration

A political science lecturer at the Chancellor College of the University of Malawi, Ernest Thindwa is calling upon Malawians to rise up and push government for speedy enactment of the law that would back section 88 of the country’s constitution which requires the President and vice president to declare their assets within three months in office.  

Speaking the during a panel discussion program Sunday Round Table on a privately owned Capital radio which dwelt on whether Malawi has done enough in pushing for the declaration of asset, Thindwa said the country has completely failed to effectively implement the constitutional provision because the issue is left in the hands of members of parliament who are also politicians.

“We have a very big problem here. Besides the absence of the supporting law, the issue is left in the hand of the Speaker of parliament who also unfortunately has no mechanisms to make a follow up.  To me, it is like politicians are taking an advantage of the absence of the law regarding assets declaration,” said Thindwa.

Thindwa: We need checks
Thindwa: We need checks

He therefore called for the establishment independent body which would be tasked to oversee issues of assets declaration and that it should be reporting to the parliament and not to the President.

“As Malawians we have to be clear that politicians are not very keen to put in place enabling legal framework to enforce the declaration of assets. It’s up to Malawians to rise up and push legislators that an Act is put in place so that perhaps in the next parliament sitting is discussed and passed,” he said.

He also said there will be need for a follow-up on the assets one is accumulating each year not as the status quo when one is allowed to declare assets once in five year time.

Thindwa also expressed concerns over President Joyce Banda’s statement that she sought legal advice not to declare assets, saying what the President did was going beyond the core of duty which leadership is all about, arguing that assets declaration shows one’s committed towards country’s development.

“What the President did was restricting what the constitution says because it reflects well on the commitment that people have in this country. And in my view, the President misses an opportunity to tell Malawians that she is committed to deal with corruption in Malawi,” said Thindwa.

Many callers that contributed to the programme showed an interest in the introduction of the independent body so that politicians do not take advantage of their potions to enrich themselves.

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