Namiwa: Chakwera and Chikhosi must face the music of legal fees also

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-President Lazarus Chakwera and Secretary to President and Cabinet (SPC) Zangazanga Chikhosi are personally liable to meet legals costs government has incurred following court battle loss on two Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga.

The country’s civil rights group Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) in press statement made available to Maravi Post on Saturday, May 8, 2021, says Chakwera and Chikhosi must meet the legal costs for defying Attorney General (AG) Chikosa Silungwe’s legal advise on the matter.

CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa observes that for wantonly disregarding the rule of law, and in direct defiance of legal advice from the AG, “This in fact is enough ground for Chakwera’s impeachment”.

The requests comes after the High Court of Malawi has ordered the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) to pay the costs, a development the CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa feels is inappropriate and unfair on the tax-burdened Malawians who will now have to shoulder the bill.

“CDEDI, therefore, is hereby requesting the legal counsel for the two MEC Commissioners to consider moving the courts to slap President Chakwera and the Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Mr. Zangazanga Chikhosi with the legal costs in their personal capacities, for wantonly disregarding the rule of law, and in direct defiance of legal advice from the Attorney General (AG). This in fact is enough ground for impeachment!Those who may choose to care may recall that in our petition dated December 18, 2020 under the heading ‘we say no to impunity and executive arrogance,’ we asked the President and the SPC to act on the Attorney General’s legal opinion to give the two MEC Commissioners their appointment letters.

“CDEDI also maintained the same stand in our petition dated January 19, 2021, which was delivered to the President through the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Blantyre City Council, at the end of peaceful demonstrations held in the city.Having noticed the total disregard of the two petitions, CDEDI formally wrote President Chakwera On February 13, 2021, bringing to his attention that his decision to ignore the AG’s legal opinion could be construed as political victimization, coupled with his nepotistic tendency and dislike for the people from the Southern Region,” reads part of CDEDI statement.

Namiwa adds, “CDEDI in the same letter warned President Chakwera and Mr. Chikhosi that should the two MEC Commissioners decide to take Government to court for unfair dismissal, CDEDI and all well-meaning Malawians would hold him and his secretary personally liable.It is for this reason that we are appealing to the legal team representing the two commissioners to move the courts to ensure that the poor and marginalized taxpayers should not pay for Chakwera’s growing disrespect for the rule of law and, and the Republic Constitution. After all, a good precedent was already set, where the country’s former President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, and the former SPC Lloyd Muhara, were recently personally held liable for similar decisions they made while they were in office.

“Lastly, but not the least CDEDI is reminding President Chakwera that before assuming the high office of the presidency, he took an oath to protect the constitution without fear or favour. CDEDI therefore, will not hesitate to mobilize Malawians to stand up against Chakwera’s total disrespect for the rule of law, selective application of justice and attempts to take back the country to dictatorship”.

Chakwera is currently in the north.

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