Malawi: Chakwera Vows to Answer Questions in Malawi Parliament - Reduce Presidential Powers, Declare Assets Yearly

Lazarus Chakwera, Malawi's new president.

New era indeed! President Lazarus Chakwera has said he will be submitting himself to "constitutional processes" including attending the presidential question time in parliament, setting the tone of new way of doing things in the next five years of governance.

The laws state that a President should go to parliament to answer the questions from legislators but immediate former president Peter Mutharika has always snubbed the questions to the president session when called and instead delegated a senior cabinet minister to answer on his behalf.

Former president Bakili Muluzi is the only one who faced the then Leader of Opposition Gwanda Chakuamba in an exciting and historic question time in the 1990s.

But speaking during his inauguration ceremony at Kamuzu Barrack in Lilongwe organised by Malawi Defence Force, President Chakwera promised to give the country his best and "do my best for you as your servant."

Said Chakwera: "More importantly, I promise to set a good example of submitting myself to the constitutional processes, provisions, and institutions that are designed to ensure that the President and Vice President are always at their best"

He added: "I will go to Parliament to be questioned by the people about my handling of state affairs."

Chakwera also said as required by law, he will make a full declaration of his assets each year and also that he would want to reduce presidential powers.

"I will propose legislation to reduce the powers of the presidency and empower institutions to operate independently, including Parliament and the Anti-Corruption Bureau," he said.

The Malawi leader pledged meet with the Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) "personally every three months to listen to alternative ways of running government affairs."

Chakwera also said he will operationalize the Access to Information Act "in order to end the era of government secrecy and usher in the dawn of government accountability."

Said Chakwera: "As I seek to be at my best through these measures, you can also count on me to challenge all of you to be at your best."

Chakwera comfortably won the June 23 election with 58.5 per cent of the vote -- beating Peter Mutharika, whose re-election last year was anulled by the courts over "grave", "widespread and systematic" irregularities.

His formal inauguration coincided with the country's 56th independence celebrations.

More From: Nyasa Times

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