No Law Provides For President To Resign In MW, Legal Experts
Some legal experts have described calls by some quarters in the country for President Lazarus Chakwera to step down or call for a referendum as mere politicking, and that constitutionally, do not hold water.
The legal experts have agreed that the president can resign only on his own volition, if incapacitated, when his term expires and if impeached; otherwise the calls are not provided for in the constitution.
Dean of law at the University of Malawi Dr. Sunduzwayo Madise says the only way to measure the president’s popularity is through the ballot, adding such political insinuations can only derail governance processes.
Dr. Madise says the country cannot afford to allow everyone to want to usurp power through political decisions, adding it is high time the Democratic Progressive Party accepted the 2020 presidential poll defeat.
“There’s no other legal process under which a president will resign, unless he wants to. Our constitution gives electorates the power to vote for someone into office every five years. And the only other way to do that is through an impeachment, and that is done through parliament, but we don’t have rules for that, I think the last time we did that was during Bingu, but again the High Court stayed it because of conflict of interest,” said Dr. Madise.
He says people must accept defeat, referring to the DPP which has been saying the Tonse Alliance snatched power from them, despite losing during the 2020 poll, which he adds should not be given any attention for it derails governance processes.
Another expert Chrispine Ngunde, secretary of the Malawi Law Society says despite that the law provides for freedom of expression, there is no provision for the president to step down unless he is incapacitated, resigns on his own volition or impeached.
Ngunde says it is ultimately the president’s decision to step down, so the calls do not necessarily mean the president should do so.
“People can express an opinion, within their constitutional right. If citizens have concerns, it’s their right to demonstrate, carry placards and do all they want, but it is for the president to decide to resign,” Ngunde said.
Recently, the Democratic Progressive Party leaders called on President Lazarus Chakwera to step down for allegedly messing up the economy and failing to fulfill campaign promises; something echoed by some Human Rights Ambassadors yesterday Thursday in Mulanje, who have given the president eighteen days to resign.