Malawi leader Peter Mutharika has faulted the courts’ decision to suspend George Chaponda saying only the president has powers of firing and hiring cabinet ministers.
On Thursday, the Mzuzu high court ordered for the suspension of minister of agriculture, Irrigation and water development Chaponda following the controversial maize purchase in Zambia.
The development followed a court application by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that demanded Chaponda to leave his ministerial office to pave way for investigation.
In his ruling, Justice John Chirwa ordered Chaponda to cease being a minister until proven clean on the transactions made with Zambian private company Kaloswe in which billions of money has been wasted.
Reacting on the court ruling through a statement, Government Spokesperson Nicolas Dausi has faulted the order arguing that Mutharika remains the only citizen to take action on cabinet ministers.
“The power to appoint and suspend a Cabinet Minister, under the Constitution, vests in the President as stipulated in sections 92 to 96 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi. No person, apart from His Excellency, the State President, exercising his constitutional powers, has the power to remove or suspend a Cabinet Minister. It is therefore a complete usurpation of executive powers by the Court to grant an order like the one made by the High Court in Mzuzu.”
“Government notes that the order has been granted pending an application for judicial review. Judicial review is the process of reviewing a decision made by a decision-maker. The circumstances surrounding the order make it clear that there is no decision that has been made which would impel a court to make an order that effectively suspends a cabinet minister,” reads part of statement made available to Malawi24.
The statement further disclosed that government will challenge the ruling through the attorney general to ensure that Chaponda remains minister.
Meanwhile, government has urged the judiciary to avoid being influenced by people’s opinions when making rulings.
“While Government recognizes the fact that every citizen has a right of recourse to courts for genuine grievances, the Judiciary is urged to execute its mandate in an impartial manner and resist the temptation of making populist decisions which cannot be supported by relevant facts and the prescriptions of law,” reads the Statement.