Private practice lawyer David Kanyenda has quashed assertions to the effect that President Peter Mutharika is an illegal tenant of the State House, saying that is wrong in fact and at law.
The lawyer was commenting after opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera charged that Mutharika is “a temporary tenant “at the State House, official residence of the Head of State.
Kanyenda, who was one of the lawyers who represented President Mutharika as first petitioner in the presidential elections petition case, said Mutharika has legal mandate as Malawi leader which was approved by the Constitution Court.
“As well as nullifying the elections, the [Constitutional ] Court also directed that the status quo in the Presidency would revert to the position before the May 2019 elections.
“Put simply, the Court maintained APM [Arthur Peter Mutharika] as President but restored SKC [Saulos Klaus Chilima] into the office of VP in place of Hon. [Everton] Chimulirenji,” said Kanyenda in a post on Facbeook.
He stated that statement that Mutharika is illegal tenant of the State House are therefore wrong in fact and at law.
Kanyenda said such statements serve to undermine a fundamental part of the recent elections case judgement.
“Nothing could be further from the truth than wild assertions purporting to claim that APM is an illegal tenant of the State House. Our prevailing Constitutional scheme abhors a vacuum in the Presidency,” Kanyenda said.
Chakwera, who together with UTM Party president and State vice-president Saulos Chilima, — secured the landmark judgement by the five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court that nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election on February 3 2020— has said through his party that Mutharika can no longer purport to have the authority to govern the country.
The MCP states that Mutharika and his government are “in breach of the social contract with Malawians which is the very basis upon which this authority to govern ought to have been assumed as provided for under section 12 of the Constitution.”