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Chizuma rejection: legal minds suggest process be redone

Battle lines have been drawn between Parliament, the Executive and the electorate regarding the apparent systemic corruption in the country.

This follows the rejection on Tuesday by Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee – PAC of Martha Chizuma’s candidature as Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau – ACB.

The decision has triggered widespread public anger with civil society organisations announcing plans to organise public protests against the outcome.

There have even been calls for President Lazarus Chakwera to invoke executive powers to rescind the PAC’s decision.

However, Chakwera has so far not exercised such action; reflecting what some are describing as his principled stand to respect the rule of law as well as the Republican Constitution with regard to separation of powers.

The question that many are now asking is: What would be the way forward to avoid a looming constitutional crisis?

Among those who have offered their views is Edge Kanyongolo, a Professor of Law at the University of Malawi, who highlights that as stipulated in the country’s laws, after the president’s appointment the person appointed has to be confirmed, hence what was required of PAC was just the confirmation.

“In my view I think the process would have to start all over again, I think you can’t just go to the second, to third and to the fourth,  my personal understanding of the law is that the process has to just has to start again, because this particular process has to come to an end,” stated Kanyongolo.

The legislative committee maintains that it professionally followed all laid down processes and acted within its mandate in coming up with its decision on the matter.

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Speaking to Capital FM, committee Chairperson Joyce Chitsulo insists she is not in any way affected by the current public reaction.

“I wouldn’t say I am   going under too much pressures, then I would not be honest, my conscience is clear because I followed what the law says, the committee followed what the law says,” emphasized Chitsulo.

She went on to add that those that are taking to the streets on the matter can go ahead to do so, but hers and the committee’s stand remains that they acted according to the law.

On the other hand, various scholars continue to take turns, sharing their insights on the matter through various social media platforms.

Others are arguing that the rejection has nothing to do with Chizuma as a person, but rather, the battle between those eager to root out corruption against those that benefit from corrupt tendencies.

Meanwhile, Rights activists, led by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition-HRDC have planned to hold demonstrations on Tuesday, in protests of Chizuma’s rejection.

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