Lazarus Chakwera pokes fun at Kondwani Nankhumwa
President Lazarus Chakwera had a relatively easy afternoon in Parliament Tuesday when he answered questions from lawmakers.
Chakwera started by poking fun at Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa for apparently failing to keep track of current affairs in his response to the State of the Nation Address (Sona).
In his response to the Sona, Nankhumwa demanded details on what the President was doing to arrest the scourge of cholera in the country.
Commenting on Nankhumwa’s response, Chakwera said authorities have done a lot, including launching the Tithetse Cholera Campaign.
Chakwera also accused Nankhumwa of dwelling much on history by supposedly attempting to rewrite the 2022 Sona.
On the question of corruption raised by Zomba Lisanjala lawmaker William Susuwele Banda, Chakwera said his government remains committed to the fight.
He said government is strengthening institutions fighting corruption including the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB), the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority and the Financial and Economic Crimes Court, among others.
The President said so far, three judges have been appointed to work in the court.
“We must avoid the sensationalist idea that Malawi is losing the fight against corruption,” he said.
Machinga East lawmaker Esther Jolobala then asked Chakwera whether he was ready to trim his powers in the appointment of ACB director general as he promised in the run-up to the June 23 2020 fresh presidential election.
In his response, the Malawi leader said the issue of trimming presidential powers is not a matter of presidential decree but changing the law.
“And these laws need to be looked at in view of so many other challenges that the Law Commission and the Ministry of Justice are working on.
“But you must remember that there are still checks and balances built in our system. Parliament is the one that confirms an appointment made by the President. And if Parliament is not convinced, it can inform the President on the same,” Chakwera said.
Dedza North lawmaker Savel Kafwafwa asked the President on whether the courts could not embrace the first-come, first-serve principle, saying there are many corruption cases gathering dust in the country’s courts, most of which happened a long time ago.
But Chakwera said the courts and the Judiciary have constitutional independence and that that the management and speed of cases lies in the hands of the court.
“The Executive does not interfere with the Judiciary in any way.
“And we do have ways and means in this country of ensuring that we all have checks and balances in how these institutions operate,” the President said.
Other questions to Chakwera were on expediting the establishment of mega farms, fast-tracking construction of Mangochi Airport, plans to avoid the mess in Affordable Inputs Programme as well as the need to hike honorarium for traditional leaders in the wake of the rising cost of living.
In an interview later, Nankhumwa described Chakwera’s visit to Parliament as a lost opportunity.
He said the President failed to provide tangible responses to questions raised by lawmakers.