A court document containing case judgment on the Clerk of Parliament issue has revealed that President Peter Mutharika ordered Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya to bar the media from publicizing the case involving the appointment of Fiona Kalemba.
In a letter dated 28 October, 2015, Mutharika directed Msowoya that the matter shouldn’t be debated by the media.
Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) submitted the name of Justice Charles Mkandawire after he had emerged as the successful candidate at the interviews that were conducted on 5 and 6 October 2015.
But Mutharika refused to endorse the successful candidate and instead chose Kalemba as the new Clerk of Parliament (CoP) saying he was taking into account gender factors.
Reads Mutharika’s letter: “Rt. Hon Speaker, I thank you for your memo. I’m glad to learn that you had vigorous, transparent and accountable search process. The practice in our government is that three names are sent to the President and the President selects from that list. Please send me the top three names that you may have shortlisted and I would like a woman on the shortlist in the interest of gender diversity. Let me also request you in the interest of the integrity of the appointment process that the process should not be debated in the media until it is completed.”
Results of the interviews revealed that Charles Mkandawire came first out of all the competitors with 89 percent seconded by Grace Malera with 83 percent and followed Fiona Kalemba with 80 percent. However, Mutharika wrote told the Speaker that he had selected Kalemba to be Clerk of Parliament.
Meanwhile, Mzuzu High Court judge Dingiswayo Madise on Tuesday ruled that Fiona Kalemba can be sworn in as Clerk of Parliament (CoP), dismissing four Members of Parliament who sought a court injunction to block her from taking oath of office.
The Four MPs, Harry Mkandawire of Mzimba West, Kamlepo Kalua of Rumphi East, Peter Chakwantha of Lilongwe South West, and Enoch Chihana of Rumphi Central, obtained an injunction on November 19 2015 after it was learnt that Kalemba had emerged third during the interviews for CoP conducted by Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) in October 2015.
However, in his judgment, Madise said there was no material error of law in the appointment of Kalemba as CoP and therefore she can proceed to take oath of office and allegiance as per section 52 of the Republican Constitution.
According to Madise, the head of state had power to pick someone from a list of three or not to pick anyone at all as the same applies with the appointment of court Judges .