Renowned lawyer and former Minister of Justice, Ralph Kasambara has scolded those criticizing or bad-mouthing the Public Appointment Committee (PAC) of Parliament for not confirming Martha Chizuma as Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
Chizuma was appointed by President Dr Lazarus Chakwera two weeks ago and she appeared before members of the Committee at the Parliament Building in Lilongwe on Tuesday for confirmation.
But according to PAC Chairperson, Joyce Chitsulo, Chizuma needed to score at least 17 percent of out 25 during confirmation process to be confirmed as new ACB Director.
The Neno Parliamentarian also clarified that there was no voting as people are indicating but rather each member rated Chizuma independently and after adding the scores it could not reach the required score.
Chitsulo further told local media that everything was procedurally done [in accordance with law).
But the development has not gone down well with some section of the society, including the leadership of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition ( HRDC), who have resorted to holding demonstrations against PAC over the matter.
Meanwhile, Kasambara has particularly censured social commentator, Henry Kachaje over utterances considered by former Justice Minister as degrading to the MPs.
Kachaje wrote on his Facebook page; “Imagine: Setting up a panel of rats to vote on whether to bring a cat in the house…….”
Reacting to the post, Kasambara cautioned Kachaje to exercise the freedom of expression with responsibility.
“To say the least, this is contempt of Parliament. And I am certain this found its way onto Facebook in the heat of the moment.
“You are lucky it’s not Zambia or Uganda,” said Kasambara.
He further claimed that Parliamentarians deserve respect and that they voted according to their conscience after objectively assessing her performance.
“Had she been confirmed the social media would have been all praise for PAC. Just as they last time voted that the two beleaguered Election Commissioners were incompetent,” equally posted Kasambara on his official Facebook page along aside a screenshot of Kachaje’s post.
In a separate Facebook post, Kasambara stated that there is a good reason why the framers of the country’s Constitution chose to have separation of powers amongst the three branches of government, namely Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary.
He said the Constitution, which is Malawi’s supreme law, endows branches of government with independence in their execution of duties.
He said such independence can only be real when the occupants of those institutions are not intimidated threatened or enticed with some favors.
“Of late I have seen some judges being attacked on the decisions they make. Hear me correctly it is one thing to attack the decision and it is another to attack the person.
“Again, today we see read or hear about certain parliamentarians being attacked or bad mouthed because of the way they rated ACB director nominee.
“In both cases there are remedies provided by the constitution to deal with judges and MPs that fail to carry out their bible duties. Attacking or threatening them are not part of the solutions.
“The view of the majority is might but not always right,” contends Kasambara.
HRDC has planned to hold the demonstrations on Tuesday to express their displeasure over the development.
PAC Chairperson (Joyce Chitsulo) could not confirm nor deny that her Committee has rejected Chizuma’s appointment, saying the Speaker of Parliament is the one mandated to make such announcement.
She, however, indicated that any member of the committee can move her office to have the rating of Chizuma’s interview re-done.
“Yes, I am the Chairperson of the Committee, but I am not mandated to disclose the final results. We have sent the results to the Speaker, who will duly communicate to the country’s Presidency before announcing them,” said Chitsulo, who won the Parliamentary seat on Democratic Progressive Party ticket.