A proposal by activists for President Peter Mutharika to be suspended will likely fail since the country’s laws do not provide for suspension of the president, Malawi24 has learnt.
At the all-inclusive Public Affairs Committee (PAC) Indaba which took place last week, president of the People’s Land Organisation Vincent Wandale suggested that Mutharika be suspended to pave way for investigations on rampant corrupt in the country.
Wandale said the only way for Mutharika to clear his name following corruption accusations against his administration, is for him to be suspended.
Concurring with Wandale, human rights activist Billy Mayaya asked PAC to facilitate Mutharika’s suspension.
But in an interview with Malawi24, Secretary for the Malawi Law Society Michael Goba Chipeta said there is no law that provides for the suspension of a sitting president.
“The only law that perhaps comes close to the suggested concept is one that governs the president’s removal from office under section 86 of the constitution.
“Suspension as alluded to by the said Wandale and Mayaya at the PAC meeting, under section 86, a president can be removed from office when he has been indicted and convicted by impeachment in Parliament,” said Chipeta.
Indictment and conviction in such cases can only be on grounds of serious violation of the constitution or serious breach of the written laws of the republic and can only be done with the affirmation vote of two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly.
Chipeta said even if the president was successfully indicted and convicted by parliament, he has the right to challenge the same in court through legal proceedings.
According to him, if the president agrees to be impeached then a vacancy would be created in the office of the president.
Section 83(4) of the constitution says whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the president, the vice president shall assume that office for the remainder of the term and shall appoint another person to serve as first vice-president for the remainder of the term.
Chipeta noted that there would not be complications in the next elections if such a case happened and if there was a vacancy in the president’s office because the law envisages such situations and provides for what should happen.