Remove immunity for Malawi president to face crimininal proceedings — Chilima

The press on Friday reported the call by Vice-President Saulos Chilima to repeal the law which guaranteed immunity for Head of State from prosecution during their term of office, saying the President should face criminal proceedings for his actions.

Chilima: Presidents should not be immune from prosecution during their term of office.

According to Chilima, who is on record of saying corruption levels in government has reached ‘embarrassing levels’, said giving immunity to President from criminal prosecution gives the presidency licence to commit corrupt crimes.

Chilima said it did not make sense for an employee [occupant of the presidency] of citizens not to be charged or prosecuted for criminal acts carried out during the period of employment while the employers, Malawians, did not enjoy such a luxury.

“This provision is a licence for the presidency to conduct corrupt practices knowing he would not be prosecuted. I am calling for an amendment to this section in the Constitution if we are to truly fight corruption in this country,” he said as quoted by The Nation newspaper on Friday.

The paper quoted Malawian constitutional law commentator Professor Danwood Chirwa who argued that a criminal trial for a Head of State” could bring a government to a standstill.”

He also noted that at core of the challenges is the lack of independence of the investigative and prosecutorial agencies and “a corrupt political culture that reproduces itself.”

Malawi head of state enjoys legal protection from Section 91 of the Republican Constitution which gives immunity from civil lawsuits and criminal charges to a person holding the office of President or performing the functions of President.

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.”

However, a former president loses immunity and is liable to prosecution for any acts done in his official capacity.

Nonetheless, Parliament has the power to move for an impeachment.

Chilima has accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to be riddled with corruption, nepotism and cronyism.

State House press secretary and spokesperson for President Peter Mutharika Mgeme Kalilani challenged Chilima to report to the ACB instead of making “wild corruption claims”.

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the other guy
the other guy
3 years ago

The president should be accountable to parliament as head of government and in that regard you can prosecute a head of government. But head of state you cannot because the law is signed into law by the president as head of state it’s a law of the state and it is enforced by state law enforcement which is why the president as head of state is head of police and army. Police and army are not government institutions they are state institutions. In countries like uk the prime minister is head of government of the state while the queen is… Read more »

Gerald mapanga phiri
Gerald mapanga phiri
3 years ago

Its wise but it’s not easy for we should built independent/private investigators and independent/ private prosecutors otherwise all jobs done will be useless. I’m sure corrupt elites will fight tooth and nail not to happen. In Malawi constitution there is alot of rope holes for evil people to do their businesses

Bodza la N'nanu
Bodza la N'nanu
3 years ago

The Spanish prime minister has recently been impeached and his ministers prosecuted due to massive corruption and embezzlement of government coffers. Why are Malawian so afraid to to the same?

JJB
JJB
3 years ago

He was impeached, it does not mean he did not have immunity.

Masauko
Masauko
3 years ago

Mgeme Kalirani, which ACB are you talking about????? Who appoints the ACB Director????? So you want us to believe that it can prosecute the very same head which appointed him while both are in office. If the whole minister is given preferential treatment, so what about the president????? Ukawauze ana obadwa dzulo zimenezo. What Chilima is talking about is just to show how much he cares about Malawi not himself. APM cares more for his clonies and tribesman than Malawi.

Wanyazikhipi Kahamba
3 years ago

I agree with Chilima. President should be proscuted if found with crime. Can be the one way of reducing corruption in our country. No one should be immune from proscution. CHILIMA WOYEEEEE!!!!

the other guy
the other guy
3 years ago

You can’t prosecute the Head of State Because he is the state. The state can’t prosecute the state. The president is the personification of the state of Malawi I am afraid that proposition is weak. The state can’t prosecute itself.

Kendal
Kendal
3 years ago

Koma this baby Chilima has a very bad ndulu eti? Why can’t he go to the ACB and report?

Otoche
Otoche
3 years ago

It makes sense to me

Ugudman
Ugudman
3 years ago

I we, Mgeme report to the very ACB that he is saying is not independent? What will that achieve

Mesimadzi
Mesimadzi
3 years ago

It is good that those people aspiring to be president of Malawi should be given space to talk so that voters should know how shallow their thinking is.
The constitution of the Republic provides for the impeachment of the president should he/she does something wrong warranting the impeachment. Any sane person would see the deterrent to corruption in that provision. Should one feels that the grounds for impeachment do not cover good grounds, consider enriching the same. Otherwise considering repealing the section on immunity is very childish. Amalawi tiyeni tisiye kuombela m’manja anthu osuta chamba

Back Bencher
Back Bencher
3 years ago
Reply to  Mesimadzi

How do we impeach a president if we can’t prosecute him on some cases. The acts that may lead to the impeachment of a sitting president overlook such important aspect as corruption. The president should be able to be prosecuted, if found guilty, he shud then be impeached/relieved off his duties as president automatically without even consulting the parliament. Chilima is not being childish. He is showing patriotism and integrity that some people have been preaching without themselves practicing it.

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