Mzuzu City member of Parliament (MP) Leonard Njikho is snubbing a petition he has receivied which is calling him to move a motion to impeache President Peter Mutharika due to among others “gross incompetence”.
The petition has been signed by over 36,000 people led by taskforce chairperson Andrew Longwe and Sandra Kamanga, seeking impeachment of President Mutharika.
It sets grounds for indictement through impeachment as; Criminal negligence, Mutharika’s executive order to suspend laws that make homosexuality illegal in Malawi as one example in which the President has contravened against the Constitution and delegating ersetwhile minister of agriculture George Chaponda for ministerial duties when there was a court injunction stopping Chaponda from performing as a cabinet minister.
They also accuse President Mutharika of influencing arrest of opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) members over treason allegations.
Petitioners argue that President Mutharika allowed or may have instructed his agents, the police to illegally arrest MCP parliamentarians.for offences that are not exempted from parliamentary immunity based on flimsy evidence that can reasonably be construed to have been obtained by infringing on the accused’s freedoms.
Longwe told Nyasa Times that Njikho has up to March 4,2017 to move the impeachement motion.
“Both Dr Chaponda and President Muthatrika defied that injunction and disobeyed the court order, by one, the President allowing Dr Chaponda to travel to Germany in his capacity as Minister if Agriculture and the minister himself travelling to Germany while being fully aware of the court order,” reads the petition.
Longwe said Mutharika’s action represented a clear violation of the president’s oath to ‘obey‚ observe‚ uphold and maintain the Constitution and all other law of the Republic.
Laying their grounds for impeachment, the petitioners argue that Mutharika has time and again proved to be “a negligent President” dragging Malawi into “grave danger”.
The copy of the petition has been send to Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya.
President Mutharika is also accused in the petition for “gross incompetence.” The petitioners argues that Mutharika ha sput Malawi on “auto-pilot” evidence by not being visible and commenting on crucial issues affecting Malawians.
But Njikho has rejected the application, saying he will not move the motion.
“Forget it, I am not going to table such a motion. The charges a re frivolous,” said Njinkho, a member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Njikho said the matter was “sensitive” and that he would consult law experts.
DPP spokesman Francis Kasaila said the party will fight against the motion if it will be tabled in parliament.
The petitioners want the legislators to summon Mutharika to appear before the House to answer impeachment charges and be formally indicted at the beginning of the impeachment proceedings.
University of Malawi constitutional law expert Edge Kanyongolo said the Constitution provides ground for impeachement, saying Section 86(1) of the Republican Constitution of the National Assembly stipulates that the President and Vice-President shall be removed from office where the National Assembly has indicted and convicted the President or Vice-President by impeachment.
Sub section (2) says the procedure for impeachment shall be laid down by the Standing Orders of Parliament, provided that they are in full accord with the principles of natural justice.
But Kanyongolo said the impeachment can only succeed if the President has “a serious violation of the Constitution” and not any other mistake.
In 2005, Malawi’s Parliament opened debate on impeachment procedures to oust President Bingu wa Mutharika for allegedly violating the Constitution.
The issue of impeachment procedures caused havoc in Parliament during the first term of the late Bingu wa Mutharika when some opposition UDF supporters wanted to impeach him on among other grounds that he ditched the party that ushered him into office.
The controversial motion was moved in Parliament by Lucius Banda, who consequently lost his parliamentary seat. Parliamentarians then wanted to impeach the President but the procedures were not yet incorporated into the Standing Orders.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :