Lawyers in the country have welcomed President Lazarus Chakwera’s decision to revert the position of Chief Secretary to Government to its original name of Secretary to the President and Cabinet.
A Notice dated July 27, 2020 which The Daily Times has seen indicates that the change is effective August 1, 2020.
“In the exercise of the powers conferred by section 33 of the General Interpretation Act, I Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi, hereby order that the title of the office of Chief Secretary to Government should revert to Secretary to the President and Cabinet,” reads the notice in part.
Malawi Law Society President Burton Mhango said where the law provides for a name of an office it is important that the office is named as such.
“I am not very sure as what led to the change of the title to Chief Secretary to Government but where a law provides for a name then it must be named as such. The small unlawful things we tolerate oftentimes lead to bigger violations of the law. On this note we applaud the President for reverting to the constitutional name of the position,” he said.
Mhango said the word ‘Chief’ might have been giving holders of the office unconstitutional powers which were not supposed to be there.
“The term Chief Secretary to Government made it look like he was in charge of all the three arms of government which is not the case. Functions of this position only fall in the Office of President and Cabinet,” he said.
Prior to the June 23 presidential election Secretary to President and Cabinet who was then called Chief Sectary to Government Lloyd Muhara attempted to send Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda on forced leave pending retirement, a move which was strongly resisted by lawyers in the country and abroad.
The order which stopped Muhara’s move actually addressed him as Secretary to President and Cabinet (Self-styled as Chief Secretary to Government).