President Lazarus Chakwera has urged Malawians to support his plan to trim presidential powers, saying a president in Malawi has too many decisions to make and has too much appointing power.
Chakwera made the remarks in a radio address aired on Saturday.
He noted that the president has executive powers which involve certain decisions that are reserved for a president to make.
Chakwera, however, said there are too many decisions made by a president and it is his plan to reduce that. According to the Malawi leader, having a presidency that makes too many decisions has created problems for Malawi for a long time.
“Chief among them is that it has stifled a culture of responsibility and innovation among public institutions and private citizens.
“There must be decisions that when made by Parliament are final, and even where the President has the power to veto such decisions, he should no longer be allowed to sabotage the governance framework by sitting on the decision.
“That does not mean there aren’t matters on which the presidency is the right office to make a decision, but we need to remove from that list the decisions that do not belong there, and those decisions that do belong there need to be safeguarded by minimum requirements of transparency to and checks and balances from other institutions,” he said.
Chakwera added that his administration will reduce the powers a president has in making appointments.
He noted that the Judiciary, Legislature, Executive and institutions designed to operate independently look to the president as the appointing authority. In this category, he also mentioned the boards of statutory corporations, foreign embassies, and traditional leaders.
He said: “This is unwise. No person is good or humble enough to be entrusted with that much appointing power, for it is not possible for a president to be the appointing authority of that many offices without at some point coming face to face with a conflict of interest.”
The Malawi leader said his administration will table legislation in Parliament aimed at reducing the president’s powers.
He urged Malawians to demand the Members of Parliament to vote for these changes so that the powers of governance institutions that serve the people directly increase and the powers of the president decrease.