Mutharika refusal to assent electoral bills is lawful , says Dean of law

President Peter Mutharika decision to refuse  to ratify four election-related  bills to pave the way to fresh presidential  polls after his re-election last May was annulled over irregularities is lawful, according to Sunduzwayo Madise, Dean of the Faculty of Law at Chancellor College—a constituent college of the University of Malawi.

Dr Sunduzwayo Madise: Such withholding of assent may have political overtures, but it is lawful

Madise, who is also commissioner  of the Malawi Human  Rights Commission (MHRC),  states that the law gives the President  the power to either assent or withhold his assent.

He said if the President withholds his assent, he must give reasons and forward them to the Speaker.

“Parliament can then debate the Bills again, if it desires, but can only do so after 21 days.

“If Parliament does not pass the Bills, then that’s it, the Bills are dead [for now]

If Parliament passes the Bills after debating [again], then once they are presented to the President, he has no option but to assent to them,” Madise explained.

The law scholar said one cannot challenge the President’s withholding of assent if it has been done in compliance with the Constitution.

“Such withholding of assent may have political overtures, but it is lawful,” said Madise citing Section 73 of the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court last month ordered officials to hold fresh presidential elections within 150 days, but the bills for doing so require Mutharika’s assent.

Presidential spokesman Mgeme Kalilani who was dispatched to announce  the president’s decision at a news conference, said Mutharika’s opinion is  that most of the provisions being proposed are” in sharp contradiction with Malawi’s constitutional order.”

“Any law or amendment to the law that is inconsistent with the constitution shall be invalid,” he added.

The proposed amendments requested a more than 50 percent majority to secure a second term — a major sticking point for Mutharika, who was declared winner with just 35.8 percent of the vote.

Mutharika  has filed an appeal against the court’s annulment of the results and refused to fire members of Malawi Electoral Commission, as recommended by parliament.

Malawi’s Supreme Court is expected to rule on Mutharika’s appeal in April.

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No mercy
No mercy
6 months ago

Unless this word ‘interim’ must be revised to this power hungry stupid Mthalika then he will know what law is, otherwise he’s just headless 🐖 pig

Noxy
6 months ago

The Con court Judges were testing the waters.But not with APM.APM knows nothing else but law.So the Judges were to do their job thoroughly not to tarnish their image consequently making judgements with errors that can even be seen by a layman.

Jason Bailer
Jason Bailer
6 months ago

This is the beauty of law everywhere in the world. The technique lies in the art of opening the correct legal page in support of your legal argument. Here we are, two legal professionals from the same college differing in their interpretation of the law. On the flip side of the coin, a layman like me by only utilizing commonsense is able to discern that the Constitutional Court and Parliament erred in the interpretation of the ‘Monster’ Constitution of Malawi by taking sides and not being professional. The same systems have taken the law to the dogs by mixing legal… Read more »

Citizen Number 1
Citizen Number 1
6 months ago

Mutharika is doing all this for personal and selfish reasons and gains, but not for the good of Malawians. See the problems of giving too much power to the president!

Ndendeuli
Ndendeuli
6 months ago

No my friend. He is doing it according to the law. The 5 concourt judges fucked us up!

Denzel
Denzel
6 months ago

So simple, I even wonder why some people find problems with the president’s action

Blessings
6 months ago

Meaning after 21 days, Parliament will debate once more
And what if the opposition doesn’t get the numbers needed pass the bills.
Watching

Maiye
Maiye
6 months ago

Is it not this madise one of the constitutional court judges your professor is saying what they said about Malawi electrol commissioners MEC nzosekesa? Meaning only him knows the laws than whosoever was judging the election case lied to Malawians including you madise😂😂😂😂 Koma ma bukhu kkkkkk

Bob Finye
Bob Finye
6 months ago
Reply to  Maiye

That’s why there is an appeal. According to APM, parliament was wrong. The Mps prepared bills that are inconsistent with the constitution. As a lawyer, he cannot put his signature to such documents. His arguments are very clear.

Wanangwa Chande Mhone
Wanangwa Chande Mhone
6 months ago
Reply to  Maiye

This is Sunduzyayo Madise and that was Dingiswayo Madise, learn to differentiate……

Maiye
Maiye
6 months ago

You have said Za assessment bill heard lawful business, what about firing Jane Ansah and mec coz I went to school but ran away through the window while the lecture was lecturing at university of Jerusalem school me please, oops I forgot the tipex election too if any lawful then even this certificate of my sister I can use the tipex fluid to put my name on it to coz I need to work as a doctor to deal with corona virus this dead disease since I don’t smell any fresh election and going to the streets alone without army… Read more »

Panu
Panu
6 months ago

Our courts and judges have themselves to blame for being corrupt and being guided by political interests. The constitutional crisis has been created by the courts because their political interests has meant that they have overlooked and circumvented what is enshrined in the constitution. For example, the interpretation of majority in the constitution was already made by the Supreme Court but Concourt ignored this. There is a precedent- 50+1 was not used in 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019. To suggest that 50+1 was there is the worst mistake ever to be made by a Constitutional Court.

Ideal Citizen
6 months ago
Reply to  Panu

I agree with you. The 5 judges are the source of all this mess

PP litete
PP litete
6 months ago
Reply to  Ideal Citizen

Very true

Mbonga Matoga
Mbonga Matoga
6 months ago

The president is obviously acting within the law but not in good faith and this should be more worrying to all peace loving sensible Malawians. The reason why I am saying that the president has not acted in good faith is because the reasons he has given for refusing to asset the bills could not have taken him the whole 21 days to come up with, considering that he is also a law professor. If he was acting in good faith, he could have sent back the bills back to parliament within the shortest time possible not even two weeks,… Read more »

Nue
Nue
6 months ago
Reply to  Mbonga Matoga

The courts and parliament have not acted in good faith. They have bent laws and ignored constitutional edicts.

Ideal Citizen
6 months ago
Reply to  Mbonga Matoga

Accusing APM for what you call lacking good faith is just being subjective. After all, good faith cannot be objevtively quantified. What is very important is whether he has broken any law or not. Not all that comes from parliament for president’s assent is better for all Malawians. We know how the bills were fast tracked. The president is mandated by law to protect our constitution from such politically inspired bills.

Citizen
Citizen
6 months ago
Reply to  Ideal Citizen

NDIWE GALU KWABASI

Arafat
Arafat
6 months ago
Reply to  Mbonga Matoga

Inunsotu muyankhula zombwambwana. Learn to argue things with a sober mind coz zimene mwalemba apazi ndi za mpwesa zokha zokha. Mbwelera

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