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Malawi AG Kaphale censures Legal Affairs Committee for usurping parliament’s powers

Kalekeni Kaphale: Malawi Attorney General

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale has taken a swipe at the Legal Affairs Committee of parliament for acting as a parliament on its own in the setting of the date for the fresh presidential poll.

In a letter addressed to the committee’s chairperson Kezzie Msukwa, Kaphale says the committee has misdirected itself and commtted a grave error of law by believing that is can resolve to set a date for the fresh Presidential Election and dictate the same to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

He said: “To begin with, your committee, Sir, is not parliament at all. It is simply a committee of parliament. On page 124 of the judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the court said and I quote: “It is important that parliament of fresh election.”

“The above order was not made in a vacuum. It was informed by a rearity of section 80(1) of the constitution which states that: “the president shall be elected in accordance with the provisions of the Contitution in such manner as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament, and save where this constitution provides otherwise, the ballot in presidential election shall take place concurrently with the general election for members of the National Assembly as prescribed by section 67(1),” he added.

Kaphale has further advised the Committee to stop behaving as parliament, arguing doing so contracts with the Constitution, which is the superior law of the land.

“Please note that your Committee, Sir, cannot have recourse to section 48 of the parliamentary and presidential election Act to believe that the Commission can set a date for fresh presidential election.

“That thinking has three problems. Firstly, it contravenes the clear wording of section 80 of the Constitution, which is superior law; secondly, it conflicts with the very decision of the Supreme Court that ordered Parliament to set the date for the fresh presidential election; thirdly, it contradict what you have just done; set the date and dictate it to the Commission,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Legal Affairs Committee of parliament has written the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to have the electoral body gazette 23 June, 2020 as the date on which the fresh presidential poll shall be held.

Worldwide, Committees are an important vehicle through which Parliament more effectively carries out its legislative, representation and oversight functions.

Their reports are tabled and debated in the respective Houses. Parliament plays an oversight role mainly through its Portfolio and Thematic Committees

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Maneno Chimulala
Maneno Chimulalahttps://www.maravipost.com
I am a journalist, educator, and activist with passion for telling stories about social justice, sports and political issues. I graduated from Mzuzu University. I started my career at the Maravi Post online publication in 2012 as an intern while in college. Upon graduating from Mzuzu University I was offered a job as Sports Reporter because of my background as a goalkeeper and rose to the position of sub editor. I also had a short stint with Nyasatimes, Malawi Punch and Malawi Digest. Over the past seven years, I have worked intimately with rural organizations and communities in Malawi on human rights, girl child education and grassroots development projects. With an academic background in education, I also volunteer as male champion for girls’ education under Girls Empowerment Networks (GENET) in Malawi’s South West Education Division (SWED).
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