Over five civil society organisations together with several human rights activists have announced plans to hold demonstrations aimed at forcing President Lazarus Chakwera to remove presidential immunity.
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), in collaboration with the Pan-African Civic Educators Network (PACENET), the Social Revolution Movement (SRM), Centre for Democracy Watch (CEDWAT), CORE Malawi, Mzuzu and Karonga Youth Caucuses, together with a number of individual human rights activists and concerned citizens say they are championing an initiative called ‘Action Against Presidential Immunity (API).
The initiative is aimed at setting a precedent to stop politicians from taking Malawians for granted and to ensure that politicians do not get away with their unfulfilled campaign promises and lies.
The grouping has since organised demonstrations on July 28 2022 over Chakwera’s failure to direct the Law Commission and the Attorney General to start the process of amending Section 91 of the Constitution as one way of honouring his pledge of trimming presidential powers.
Speaking at a press briefing this morning, CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said they want Chakwera to scrape off presidential immunity and to give a clear direction on how his government will deliver the rest of the promises, complete with a clear time-frame.
“By scrapping off presidential immunity, Dr. Chakwera would not only have delivered on one of his flagship campaign promises, rather he would have also made a bold statement that he was not entangled in any corruption scandals that have rocked the country in the two years of his leadership, as feared by some quarters,” said Namiwa.
On State House’s recent claims that Chakwera is prioritising laws which directly affect Malawians such as land laws, Namiwa said it is not up to Chakwera to decide which of his promises he should start with.
“It is important to remind President Chakwera that he is using borrowed powers, according to Section 12 of the Republican Constitution; therefore, he neither has power to decide the right time to honour his campaign promises nor the luxury to prioritise them,” Namiwa said.