Malawi: Chilima Dares DPP to Strip Off Presidential Immunity - 'They Are Copying UTM Manifesto'

Saulos Chilima, leader of the opposition United Transformation Movement (file photo).

Malawi's Vice-President Saulos Chilima has challenged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government to repeal Section 91 (2) of the Constitution, to strip off immunity for a sitting President from criminal prosecution, saying it gives the presidency licence to commit corrupt crimes.

Chilima, who is UTM Party leader, was speaking at political rally in Mzuzu on Sunday which was televised nationwide on private stations; Times and ZBS.

He said the DPP are copying the UTM manifesto ahead of the fresh elections slated for May 19, citing the government decision to abolish the quota system if selecting students to public university as an example.

"They are copying our manifesto to abolish the quota system," said Chilima, who started his speech in local lingua franca Tumbuka fluently.

But he challenged the government, saying that if they want to deal with the UTM manifesto, they should remove the presidential immunity, saying the country's should not be immune from prosecution during their term of office.

"Removing the quota system is not enough as the biggest problem is presidential immunity," Chilima said.

Chilima reiterated that a sitting President is not supposed to have immunity so that he or she, like any other person, should be tried in court if found on the wrong side of the law while in office.

Section 91 of the Republican Constitution gives immunity from civil lawsuits and criminal charges to a person holding the office of President or performing the functions of President.

Section 91 (2) reads: "No person holding the office of President shall be charged with any criminal offence in any court during his term of office."

However, a former president loses immunity and is liable to prosecution for any acts done in his official capacity.

Chilima has been accusing the DPP administration of being riddled with corruption, nepotism and cronyism.

The UTM leader said his party will not compromise on its electoral manifesto.

"We want a nation in which everyone should be happy," said Chilima.

The manifesto, which talks about alleviating poverty among Malawians, also promises voters a good governance system through making key accountability institutions independent of political interference.

UTM secretary general Patricia Kaliati speaking earlier also trashed gvernment's decision to abolish the quota system, saying is is copying from the UTM president who has been condemning the system.

The party directors of strategic planninh Norman Nyirenda also echoed the same, saying it is Chilima who condemned quota system as "satanic and evil."

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