MP fails to turn up to move motion to strip Malawi President of immunity: Corrupt Practices Act to be amended

A motion that would have forced a sitting President to face trial while in office if suspected of committing a crime including corruption was not moved in parliament on Thursday because the mover was not in the House.

Willet Karonga, MP for Chilima Movement no show in the House

Chiradzulu North member of Parliament (MP) Willet Kalonga (independent) had given the notice to table a Private Member’s Motion to amend Section 91(2) of the Constitution to remove the provision that gives a sitting President immunity.

Kalonga was expected to move the controversial motion on Thursday but when Speaker Richard Msowoya asked him to move the motion, he was not in the House.

No reasons were given for his absence but the motion was likely to be shot down as the government side is enjoying numerical power in the 193 strong House with  support from the People’s Party – who are in working arrangement to support government as part of ‘amnesty’ of their leader Joyce Banda from prosecution.

Blantyre North MP Phiso even asked the Speaker to allow him read the motion on behalf of Karonga, a suggestion shot down by Msowoya.

The DPP members of parliament accused Karonga of “running away” from his own motion when it was evident it was to be shot down.

Kalonga’s notice to move the motion follows Vice-President Saulos Chilima calling for an amendment of a constitutional provision that would enable the removal of presidential immunity.

Chilima, who is on record as having condemned appalling corruption levels in the government he serves, called for the amendment of the law on the basis that the provision is a licence for the presidency to engage in corrupt practices as the office bearers know they would not be prosecuted.

Cureently, the  Constitution gives immunity from civil lawsuits and criminal charges to a Heaf of State.

Section 91(2) reads: “No person holding the office of President shall be charged with any criminal offence in any court during his term of office.”

Meanwhile, governance commentator Mankhumbo Munthali has urged  Parliament to pass an amendment to the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA)  with finer details that  entails appointees to the office of the director of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) should face an interviewing panel.

The Bill, gazetted on June 25 2018, is set to repeal Section 6 of the CPA by inserting 6(a) while maintaining that the director would be appointed by the President subject to confirmation by the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of Parliament.

Munthali said there is need for government to come up with a clear criteria on the identifiacation of the people who will constitute the shortlisting and interviewing panel, saying the new arrangement could only work in an environment where the Executive arm of government is free from politics of patronage, nepotism and cronyism.

He fears that the proposed amandement  may be prone to abuse.

Munthali said : “My recommendation is that the amendment to the Corrupt Practices should include a clause where the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs should appoint the ‘at least 7 member panel and the Committee’ in consultation with relevant recognised mother bodies like CONGOMA, Malawi Council of Churches/ECM/Quadria Muslim/MAM/EAM, Media Council of Malawi or MISA”.

He said s:uch a proposed consultation should be interpreted as the Minister writing these mother bodies to submit/nominate at least 3 persons of high integrity within their membership to be considered for selection by the Minister to be in the Panel.

“The minister then will select from the submitted list the 7 member panel.”

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu said the new process was in line with the eight pillars of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy which comprises the Executive, the Judiciary, the Legislature, traditional and faith leaders, media and private sector in the fight against corruption.

A new Section 6(b) has also been inserted to give the ACB director a tenure of three years, but the President would still have powers to remove the appointee with the confirmation of the Public Appointments Committee and an arbiter.

Activist  Munthali observed that the proposed three years tenure of ACB director is vague, unrealistic and does not ably address the issue of security of tenure of  graft-busting body Czar.

In 2016, Parliament rejected a motion from the then Legal Affairs Committee chairperson Peter Chakhwantha which sought to ensure the bureau’s independence from the Executive by leaving the appointment to the Parliament through the Public Appointments Committee.

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#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that Malawi politics is still in pre-stone age. It has not matured beyond the Kamuzu days. We have a whole president who is unsophisticated with his cabinet full of hand clappers; MPs who have no clue why they are in parliament (no critical thinking skills with low cognitive skills). Legislators have never ever tabled Bills that are forward-looking other than those that protect and benefit themselves. This is proved with each ruling party repealing or reviewing Bills/Laws that were approved/passed by the previous ruling party to once again protect their own interest. Malawian… Read more »

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT
Guest
ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT

OUR CHILDRENS FUTURE IS

AT STAKE WITH THESE SELF ENRICHING MPS IN AND OUTSIDE
PARLIAMENT

Rute
Guest
Rute

Koma shaaa! Chilima movement bills defeated left, right and centre. Mpaka kusowatiu Mr Kalonga? Kumafunsa zinthuzi, osamangothamangira. Chilima akupusisani zedi.

psyuta
Guest
psyuta

kkkkkkkkkkkkkkk !!!!!! Abusalom. Koma ndeu imeneyi uimaliza ?????

Mulopwana
Guest
Mulopwana

Kalonga is a coward. Why start something you knew would not hold water. Asakusocheretseni SKC. He speaks in parables for the wise to judge ndiye musamangotengeka ndi angoni odya mbewa ku nsipe kwathuku. Kodi ajenda yanu ndi chiani? Majerasi basi. Ukanachita manyazi Kalonga ukanabwera mu Nyumba ya Malamulo dzulo. Umufunde Chidanti ndi Winiko sanaothere dzulo . Dimba anawathira madzi moti a Malunga sanabwelerenso ku nyumba ya malamulo.

Gwemula
Guest
Gwemula

Anthu andale mukutionelela kwabasi zoona PP yachitanso alliance ndi the DEVIL himself Dima Pali Ponse party ALLAH akulangani nonse chaka cha mawa tidzaona komwe mutadzathawire akazayamba kukukwidzingani muzati political witch hunting sinchoncho agulukunyinda?? Uladi aBiti Ntila Rafu Juma dipipo yonse kundende!! When Chilimaizm ikadzatenga dziko lathu kuti adzalikonze mmene tikufunira ife a Malawi osati asatana wa ayi

Kwita
Guest
Kwita

Man DPP sizochezatu. 50+1 down, MBC 1 kwacha down, Jose rejection down, Age limit down, Removal of immunity kuigwanda. 5 kwa Zero. Zidzakhala chonchi chaka cha mawa APM akadzamalumbilitsidwa ena akulimbana ndi miyambi ya lero.

pundit guru
Guest
pundit guru

Totally hopeless. This shows that total lack of patriotism and corruption is fully embedded in all these MPs and the politicians. . All these CSO demos are all useless as this counrty is run as mafia style business. Fellow Malawians, with DPP in power there is NO HOPE AT ALL. ONLY HOPE NOW IS TO PRAY THAT GOD INTERVENES AGAIN AND QUICKLY. GOD help us. GOD help Malawi please…………. and now only God can help as malawians will never react nor has the teeth to bite as seen for past years allowing and accepting the thieves of DPP to be… Read more »

Chappe;
Guest

Why bring God into the discussion? God never has done and never will do anything for Malawi. Change for the better will only come if and when the right people get into Parliament. If you wait for God to intervene in Malawi politics, you will wait for ever. Only people with the desire to bring change and the knowledge of how to do so will move Malawi forward. Politicians who are greedy and only interested in self-enrichment are all that Malawi seems to produce. They flit from one party to another and have no commitment to further the well-being of… Read more »

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