Being a former parliamentarian himself, on his return President Chakwea’s face radiated and the ambience had a mark of familiarity as he could remember some Parliamentarians who he shared some light moments during her 5-year stint in the August House, no wonder his approach to the questions was characterized with some moments of smiles.
The Malawi leader spared some time to exchange pleasantries with a cross section of people and he was seen talking to some members of Parliament from the opposition, notable includes Ms. Lilian Patel President of the United Democratic Front (UDF), Second Deputy Speaker Aisha Adams, Rodrick Khumbanyiwa UDF parliamentarian from Chikwawa and Mathews Ngwale a DPP Parliamentarian from Mulanje among others.
President Chakwera is someone who is not fazed by any gathering and as usual he maintained his composure and poise throughout the question session even when it seemed there were some deliberate attempts to provoke him. One such question arose and it came from a Parliamentarian from Machinga who wanted to know if President Chakwera would reduce some of his powers like being an appointing authority of the Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) as he promised during the campaign.
In his response, President Chakwera said giving up some of his powers does not depend on his (Presidential) decree but it’s an issue which would require the involvement of the Law Commission and the Ministry of Justice but importantly Parliament would have to come in and amend the said clause in the constitution.
He said: “The matter of reducing Presidential powers is not an issue of Presidential decree but an issue of a constitution. It requires the involvement of the Law Commission and the Ministry of Justice. In line with checks and balances if Parliament feels that they are also not comfortable with the section of the Constitution, they are free to amend it after all Parliament already gets involved in the confirmation of the ACB Director General.”
It would seem odd for the President to give away some of his powers but knowing President Chakwera., he would not mind doing that. In November last year, Parliament amended Section 4 of the Protected Names, Flags and Emblems Act which among other things used to criminalize insulting the President and actually the decision to decriminalize the President name came from President Chakwera himself.