19 February 2014

Malawi: Constitution Protects President Banda to Stay in Office

Lilongwe — President Joyce Banda will not succumb to pressure from Civil Societies Organizations (CSO) to resign from presidency seat as the constitution clearly stipulates that her office will not at single minute remain vacant.

Minister of Information and Civic Education, Brown Mpinganjira explained at a briefing held in Lilongwe on Wednesday that government was surprised to note some CSOs ganging against the President forcing her to leave office when the laws of the land are clear on the matter.

"Though I did not listen to the programme, I am shocked to hear that some civil society organizations held a meeting trying to strategize on how they could push the President out of her seat.

"This is impractical; the constitution has explained very clearly that the seating President seizes to be a leader of a country once a new President has been sworn in," Mpinganjira said.

He further said, "In this regard, President Dr. Joyce Banda will not be forced until such a time when we have a new president something which could happen this year, in five years time or even ten years to come."

The information Minister asked the concerned civil societies to revisit the constitution and have a clear interpretation on what it states about the seating President especially in regards to when he/she expresses interests to contest in the elections.

COS lead by Mbvuto Bamusi are requesting for President Banda's resignation since she holds a public office. The group holds that by clinging to Presidency, Banda was violating the constitution of the land.

Minister of Justice, Fahad Asssani quashed the claim by civil society organizations and requested them to clearly understand what the constitution states as they could be ignorant of the laws.

Maxwell Mbendera, SC, Malawi Electoral Commissioner has been quoted in the media saying the office of the President cannot be vacant. Mbendera said the incumbent president only resigns when a new President is sworn in.

During the conference, Mpinganjira appealed to opposition parties not to use the civil society to gain sympathy. In a related development, the Information Minister pleaded with political parties in the country to utilize Malawi Broadcasting Corporation since it is a public entity.

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