A legal practitioner is describing the delegation of power by President Peter Mutharika to the Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe as ceremonial.
During Mutharika’s departure to Zambia for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Summit on Wednesday at the Kamuzu International Airport, Gondwe was the one who dismissed the guard of honour.
This raised questions among the citizenry as to why Mutharika delegated his powers to the minister when the Vice President is still in the country and in good health.
The Vice President Saulos Chilima who is in bad books with his boss, has been sidelined from government events since he made it public that he was no longer part of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) family.
Chilima is now expected to launch the United Transformation Movement (UTM) as part of his race to the 2019 tripartite elections.
Speaking to Capital FM, Executive Director of Justice Link Justin Dzonzi declares that constitutionally the minister cannot exercise the powers of the President but rather the Vice President, and only on a condition like incapacitation of the President.
Dzonzi explains that the delegated person can convene a cabinet meeting but do nothing else beyond that.
“The discharge of the functions of the President can only be done by the President or the Veep because those are constitutional powers.”
Even if the President was to delegate another person and allow him or her to exercise his [the President] powers on his behalf, that person cannot do that,” Dzonzi highlited.
He added, “If I were to give an example, Goodall Gondwe cannot pardon prisoners and he cannot assent to bills on behalf of the President. This delegation has no effect in law at all.”
Mutharika returned from the summit on Thursday through the Kamuzu International Airport.
Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) President who is also a Member of Parliament for Karonga Central constituency, Frank Tumpale Mwenifumba has hailed the state President Peter Mutharika for recognizing the northern region’s departed heroes who took part in the fight against one party rule.
Mwenifumbo says in the history of the country, none of the presidents has honored the freedom fighters in the northern region like the former AFORD president late Chakufwa Thom Chihana, Orton Chirwa, Yatuta Chisiza and others.
“Mutharika has proved that the country is one and I am very impressed with the speech he made during the independence cerebration which took place in Mzuzu on 6 July 2018.”
The legislator further urged the northerners to form a block by being united to support AFORD for the party to assume power and be represented by majority members of parliament in the forthcoming 2019 tripartite elections.
He further bemoaned the tendency of some greedy politicians who are busy formulating their own political parties instead of helping the already existing ones.
Mwenifumbo said for decades AFORD has been making alliance with other parties to help them assume power but now AFORD is ready to contest on its own without allying with big or small party.
“Time has come for these parties to support AFORD because now we have made a U-turn. We want them to join us and not that we should join them no!” he emphasized.
The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will hold its convention for three days from the first of July, this year in Blantyre.
This is a departure from its earlier announcement that the convention will be held this month.
The first announcement on the convention came amid squabbles within the DPP, following a campaign by some of its members that President Peter Mutharika should not contest.
They wanted the country’s Vice President Saulos Chilima to be the party’s torchbearer, arguing that Mutharika is old to take the party to the polls.
Chilima however declared that he will not challenge his boss at the convention, as he contemplates dumping the party then announce his next political move.
A statement signed by the party’s Secretary General Grelzedar Jeffrey indicates that the new dates have been set by the National Governing Council, after its meeting yesterday.
Meanwhile, the party’s Director of Elections Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is also a cabinet minister has declared his interest to contest as the party’ Vice President for the Southern region of Malawi.
In a dramatic twist of events, an official from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has endorsed vice president Saulosi Chilima as the best candidate president Peter Mutharika has to partner with for the 2019 tripartite elections.
His endorsement follows tensions within the main ruling party after former first lady Callista Mutharika vowed to support Chilima as the party’s torch bearer for the DPP next year.
Speaking during a press briefing in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, DPP Director of Field Operations Ben Phiri points out that the partnership between Chilima and President Mutharika has proven to be effective in delivering on the party’s manifesto
“I endorse 120 percent the partnership of professor Peter Mutharika and Saulos Chilima, if I was to be given the opportunity to advise the president, I would encourage him to partner Chilima, " Phiri declared.
He added that he is very pleased that some quarters are proposing Chilima for the 2019 presidency, stressing that that is a clear sign that the DPP is good at nurturing young leaders to become leaders in this country.
Despite concerns that the party has not performed according to people’s expectations, Phiri gave the party a 75 percent success rate pointing out that the main challenges Malawi is experiencing at the moment are a result of poor planning by previous governments to plan and implement projects according to people’s expectations.
Political commentators are calling on the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) not to disregard the views of former First Lady Callista Mutharika, arguing they could represent the opinion of the majority of the party sympathisers.
Her declaration first came on a Whatsapp forum of former Members of Parliament, where she described Vice President Saulos Chilima as the country’s hope for a better Malawi.
She urged the DPP to feature the Veep as its Presidential candidate during next year’s general elections.
Chilima has not publicly commented on the issue.
The remarks from former First Lady Mutharika came as a shock to most Malawians as well as the leadership of the DPP, considering that Callista is an in-law to President Peter Mutharika.
Though legally the president, 77, has another five year term to rule this country, some stakeholders are of the view that it’s high time he gave a chance to young blood considering his age.
The former First lady believes Malawi can move forward with Chilima at the helm.
‘’I will support the Vice President Saulos Chilima as the Presidential Candidate for the DPP, even if it means forcing him I will do so,” she declared.
President Mutharika reacting through Presidential Press Secretary Mgeme Kalilani maintains that the sentiments will not discourage him to contest come next year.
He also refused to comment on comments that have been making rounds on social media that the there was no cordial relationship between President and his Vice President.
Speaking to Capital FM, Kalilani went on further to say that the issue of running mate to Mutharika in next years’ elections cannot be discussed now, but maintains that the two are working together.
Rumours are spreading that Mutharika has already made a decision not to pick Chilima again as running mate next year.
Commenting on the matter, Vincent Kondowe who is a member of the Political Science Association noted that Callista’s sentiments are a clear view of what a majority of people in the ruling party are expecting but are afraid to come out and say it in the open.
Also weighing in with her views Emily Mkamanga a Political Science Lecturer at Mzuzu University stresses that Callista’s remarks should not be swept under the carpet but be acted upon.