By: Andrew Cane Chilapondwa
Responding towards Public Affairs Committee (PAC) Chairman Felix Chingota’s request to have the Presidential powers trimmed and handed over to the Parliament, President Peter Mutharika has rejected PAC’s proposal to have some of his powers trimmed saying the idea is unreasonable.
Mutharika had a meeting with PAC on Thursday at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe where he completely turned down the idea saying the move will promote Parliamentary dictatorship.
“It’s unreasonable to have some Presidential powers removed and handed over to the Parliament because it will promote Parliamentary dictatorship.
The Office of the President needs to be protected too and there is no way I can hand some of the powers to Parliament. I will not be the President forever, my friends, whoever will succeed me will have a tough time in office if we give these powers to the Legislatures house,” he explained.
Mutharika has been criticized for failing to honor what he wrote in his manifesto prior to the 2014 Tripartite General Elections in which he won by 36 percent. During part of his presentation, Chingota asked the President to consider handing some of his powers to the Parliament in order to minimize political interference in some of the appointments made by the highest office.
He said the appointment of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Chairman, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) Chairman and Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Director General should be done by Members of Parliament in order to make sure that they are independent and that there is no political interference from Government.
However, Mutharika defended himself saying even in Europe and America, it is the President who makes such appointments. “It’s even happening in UK, USA, France and so many countries whereby a President is given the mandate to make such appointments. Let’s not promote Parliamentary dictatorship, these appointments are done by the President,” he concluded.
During the meeting, PAC also asked the Malawi leader to review the constitution and make some election reforms before general elections in 2019 to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2014. PAC also asked the Malawi leader to stop appointing Members of Parliament into Ministerial positions as part of the constitutional review.
But Mutharika defended himself saying he won the presidential seat because the majority of Malawians voted for him during the polls. He said it was very unfortunate that some people are still questioning his legitimacy despite coming top during the controversial and closely contested elections.
However, he was quick to reveal that his Office will go through the documents before referring the matter to Parliament.