Enough is Enough! Malawi’s Attorney General (AG) Chikosa Silungwe has told public officials “who have deluded and condescending attitudes” towards him over his legal opinion that their conduct is “silly and immature”.
In a statement issued today, Silungwe said he was hired to give impartial legal opinion to the government and can be removed on grounds that he is incompetent or compromised to provide such advice.
He noted that some of the letters in which he provided legal opinions to senior government officials have leaked on social media. This, Silungwe said, has led to social media debates leading to conclusions that he misapplied the law.
Silungwe expressed concern over such conclusions saying it would be serious neglect of his constitutional obligation to provide unsound legal advice to government.
He argued that he accepted the position because he knew he is competent to provide legal advice and the opinions he provides are the product of legal research at the AG’s office.
Silungwe then defended his opinions saying they are correct at law and he will always stand by them.
He also laid into public officers who oppose his opinions based on personal agenda and condescending attitudes towards other public officers.
Silungwe said: “Under the country’s constitutional order, the president can fire one public officer for giving wrong legal advice. That person, at the moment, is Chikosa Mozesi Silungwe. Nameless lawyers or nameless senior government officials do not bear the constitutional to provide legal advice to the government. I bear that Constitutional obligation. It is an obligation that I take very seriously. The people of Malawi can be assured that I will not let them down.
“There are a number among us – public officers – who have deluded, personal agenda that tends to be driven by a condescending attitude towards other public officers. This personal delusion must not be allowed to morph into institutionalized pettiness that threatens the professionalism required in public service. The people of Malawi deserve better from their public officers.”
On the “unprecedented” leakages, Silungwe said they do not come from the Ministry of Justice and he advised public officers from other ministries, departments and agencies to be professionals.
He said: “Leaking my opinions in the manner it happened on Thursday, 11 February 2021 is simply silly and immature. I trust that the people of Malawi have seen the last chapter of this absolute and hideous nonsense.”