Lazarus Chakwera withdraws question to Mutharika


Leader of Opposition, Lazarus Chakwera, has withdrawn a question that he wanted President Peter Mutharika to answer in Parliament.

Chakwera said he preferred to have Mutharika in the House instead of having his question answered by Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe.

“I would like to have an interaction with the President. In my statement I said I would wait until he is ready to respond. The President is part of Parliament. We would like to interact with him on issues of national importance,” Chakwera said.


He announced his decision when Parliament reconvened Wednesday.

According to a notice on yesterday’s Order Paper, Chakwera was expected to ask a question based on the country’s economy.

“Honourable Dr. L Chakwera (Leader of Opposition) to ask the President why there is seemingly lack of action when all economic indicators-inflation, exchange rate, economic growth etc are pointing in reverse direction. Leadership is doing nothing tangible, claiming it is everyone’s responsibility. Is this not abdicating your policy and its execution according to the Malawi Constitution, Articles 7 and 13 (e),” reads the notice.


The question was asked under Section 89 (4) of the Constitution and Standing Order 70.

In another interview, Leader of the House, Francis Kasaila, said the question was a general one, therefore, the President could delegate.

“The President can come when there is a specific question about what he said in his statement. The question from the Leader of Opposition was a general one, therefore, the President could delegate any minister to handle such question,” Kasaila said.

On Monday, Speaker Richard Msowoya announced that Chakwera and three other MPs, Khumbo Kachali, Everson Makowa Mwale and Kamlepo Kalua had submitted questions which they wanted Mutharika to answer.

He, however, said Mutharika had delegated relevant ministries to answer the questions.

Meanwhile, Minister of Justice, Samuel Tembenu, has issued a statement justifying Mutharika’s decision not to appear in Parliament.

“While the Constitution is clear that there are certain specific powers and functions which can only be exercised by the President alone, it does not restrict the President from delegating some of those functions if he chooses to do so. In the case of the questions which were asked by the Members of Parliament, it is clear that the responses to them can best be provided by the line Ministers. The President was, therefore, perfectly entitled to delegate to the said Ministers and, in doing so, he was acting within law,” reads Tembenu’s statement issued on Tuesday.

It adds: “Indeed, it is inconceivable to expect that the President would be able to deal with each and every issue or question personally. Hence, delegation is a necessary part of his constitutional functions because it affords him the opportunity to deal with other equally important matters of State.”

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