University of Malawi law expert says‘nothing illegal calling President to resign’: Justice Minister says regime change call ‘unconstitutional’

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu has spoken on the legality of making “regime change” calls, saying it is “unconstitutional” and may only divide the country but a constitutional law expert Edge Kanyongolo, who is lecturer at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, has differed.

Kanyongolo: Nothing wrong to express a call for a President to resign peacefully

Some delegates at the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) Sixth All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference in Blantyre demanded the removal of President Peter Mutharika.

But Tembenu said it was important that the country’s constitution should be respected at all times.

“It is the constitution that is above all of us and everybody else and so it needs to be taken into consideration at all times,” he said.

Said Tembenu: “Indeed if a doctor finds a patient has a tumour he will not prescribe that the remedy should be to chop off the head.

“What do you mean when you say change the crew? Any proposition that you can change regimes or anything other than constitutional means us something I don’t agree with, and must be looked at carefully.”

He called on proponents of regime change to resist that, saying Malawi is a nation that chose constitutionalism “and it is the Constitution that is above all of us and everything.”

However, in his legal opinion, a constitutional law expert Kanyongolo said there is nothing illegal with citizen merely expressing themselves by calling the President to resign.

Kanyongolo said it would only be illegal if the regime change is done in unlawful means.

“Calling for a President to resign is a legitimate exercise of the Constitution,” said Kanyongolo.

He noted that freedom of expression is also enshrined in the country’s constitution.

During the PAC conference, self-acclaimed leader of People’s Land Organisation Vincent Wandale and human rights activist Billy Mayaya demanded the resignation of President Mutharika.

The same calls were made during PAC’s All-Inclusive Stakeholder Conference last year by People’s Party (PP) third vice-president Kamlepo Kalua and former spokesperson Ken Msonda, now in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) camp.

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13 thoughts on “University of Malawi law expert says‘nothing illegal calling President to resign’: Justice Minister says regime change call ‘unconstitutional’”

  1. Afana Zedi says:

    Why do educated Malawians become fools when they taste a bit of tax payers money? Just look at how dull Tembenu’s analogy sounds! When a patient has a tumour, do you call for his head to be chopped? Of course not! Nobody is calling for the whole head to be chopped. Malawi has a tumour and some people are only asking for the doctor to remove that tumour. The tumour is APM, the professor who has never run anything and finds himself with a job too big for him. Even Trump is facing calls to resign and nobody has threatened anyone that it’s illegal to call for regime change. At least with Trump, you know what he believes in. He is decisive and takes action unlike Mr Ibu. Trump has clinched a $100 Billion deal to sell weapons to Saudi. That’s instant success. Mr Ibu, what have you done for Malawi that you should say calls of regime change are illegal?

  2. joze says:

    JKK….i believe you are very DULL…for you have provided OBJECTS of PAC as 4.1.9 yourself…I doubt if you really understand English Language and the meaning of DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE and RESPECT OF THE RULE OF LAW as quoted by yourself. Do you want me to elaborate further than this??? Where is the respect of the rule of law and tell me whether your favoured president is standing for what he took an OATH for?? NO FAVOUR or ILL MANNER. why is he favouring Chaponda? and you want PAC to be blind and silent on this favouritism and ill mannerism???? YOU ARE AN IDIOT indeed JKK

    1. JKK says:

      You are asking your stupid questions to the wrong person.

      PACs 4.1.9 does not say anything about asking a government to resign. Besides that is PACS constitution not the Republics constitution.

      As i said in my comment, Politicising everything will not take this country anywhere, and unfortunately idiots like you are abound in this country.

      Where did you get the idea that I favour Muthalika? You can not have discussions on behalf of a nation, discussions that are biased from the word go. Do you suppose the whole country is against Muthalika?

      Learn to be objective, and stop wasting time commenting on things you have no idea about. You have not even commented on the difference between constitutionality, and legality, that is what my comment was about.

  3. mchisala says:

    But mis-governance and mal-governance and the attendant consequences are just as unconstitutional!

  4. Kwengwere says:

    Komatu the Bible never tells lies. Enemies coming in one direction but fleeing in seven. PAC is bruised badly and much worse than before. Kodi akati awa ndi azitumiki nzeru samakhala nazo? Inu mungalore ana a JB Chingota, Mulomole, Mayaya kumakuputsitsani?

  5. Manyane Mangope says:

    This man called Peter Mutharika, should reflect and leave office now! What a waste!

  6. NOEL ONONGA says:

    KOMA INU ATEMBENU MMATSATA MALAMULOWO?, IKAFIKA NTHAWI. ZIKAVUTA MMATHAMANGIRA MALAMULO. KOMA ZACHIMANGA ZINJA NDIZOTSATA MALAMULO. You always cry to constitution when u a cornered, but when all is well you break the law as if you do not care. komanso malamulo sadaikidwe kuti adzituzunza ife, koma kuti a Malawi onse azisangalala nawo, osati inu nokha. okhoza kuphanyidwa ngati akupanga oppress ma citizen. The law is their for the benefit of the citezens or protect them not to be used to oppress the citizens.

  7. JKK says:

    Come on Edge, I hope you have been misquoted.

    Constitutionality and Legality are not the same thing.

    Something can be unconstitutional and yet be legal.

    My point is, we need to be sober minded and not political when giving advice.

    Constitutionality: accordance with the provisions of a constitution. Is PAC provided for in the constitution to raise issues of Government change?

    Constitution provides for elections as a means of Government change, not PAC

    OBJECTS (of PAC from their constitution)
    4.1. The Trust’s objects (“the Objects”) are to:
    4.1.1. encourage religious bodies to fulfill their prophetic and religious roles,
    and respond to the socio-economic and political affairs of the Republic
    of Malawi
    4.1.2. enter into and maintain a dialogue with any person, political body or any
    other institution in the Republic of Malawi regarding any issues of
    concern to the nation;
    4.1.3. promote peace and tranquility in the Republic of Malawi;
    4.1.4. to promote respect for the rule of law and for human rights in the
    Republic of Malawi
    4.1.5. promote education in principles of democracy good governance and
    respect for human rights and the rule of law;
    4.1.6. encourage and support the creation of scholarships or bursaries or prizes
    to be awarded to deserving students of Malawi origin;
    4.1.7. devote itself to the increase of the knowledge and understanding of
    Malawians on issues relating to the advancement of status of Malawians
    culturally, politically and economically;
    4.1.8. develop relationships with religious and other institutions sharing the
    aims and objectives of PAC;
    4.1.9. work with international organizations, governments and institutions with
    an interest in the promotion and establishment of a common standards
    of democratic governance and respect for the rule of law with the object
    of attaining and maintaining the highest standards of excellence,
    transparency and participation in governance;
    4.1.10. do all such things as may be deemed incidental or conducive to
    the attainment of the above objects

    Nowhere does it mention that they can call upon a president to resign. Therefore that is against their own constitution.

  8. BBC says:

    It is a good idea but to me i think elections is close, we are just remaining with only 2018, 2019 we will be voting. So why can’t we wait a little bit for that time so that we will constitutionally remove the president with the ballot unless you tell me that opposition will not manage to win. Otherwise to do that we are heading towards civil war believe me or not some people will shade their blood in the process of removing the elect president from his sit. Mark my word

  9. Mzika Yeni Yeni says:

    Wait a Minute!!!!!! Is Hon. Tembenu serious when he talks of The Constitution? Or does he ONLY wants to use the constitution because people are calling for his boss to pave way for others to take FULL control of the ship before it sinks?

    When did DPP govern Malawi by using the constitution? Do NOT use the constitution selectively Bwana Tembenu. What every sane Malawian is saying is that DPP is full of rotten stuff. Unfortunately it seems it is rotten from the Head. Then we are saying the best way to do it, is to get rid of all of you in this DPP government because you are taking Malawi to no where other than enriching yourselves to the point that the Laws in the Constitution have no powers over you. You have made yourselves more powerful than the Laws of the Constitution. Where is Chaponda? How far have the ACB gone with the corruption cases? Maize Gate Cases? What about the MK236.0 Billion Cases? Etc.

    Ikwanabe nthawi muchoka ndithu!!!!!!!

  10. Munyane says:

    Kanyongolo said it would only be illegal if the regime change is done in unlawful means. – So anyamata a JB, Kanyongolo, Chingota and Mulomole, do you foresee any lawful means that wachamba Wandale and Mayaya can use?

  11. Maunits says:

    Bwampini should amicably resign what is so special here. The country has got no leader and any time from we may sink

    1. Mkulu says:

      Jelous and envy is what bothers people like Maunits in Malawi. You may go to hell with your envies. With Kamuzu you hated him coz of Dictatorship, You blamed Muluzi despite changing the political landscape to pluralism. Hated Mose Bingu on grounds of arrogance. Didnt even vote Joyce becoz she is a lady and cashgate issues and now you are on the neck of the Learned professor. Its obvious that even if we had another president we will still have this page flooded with similar accusations. Now the question is who do you want to rule Malawi?

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