Tuesday, September 27News That Matters

To Remove Immunity For Sitting Presidents Has Advantages And Disadvantages

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A legal expert has said a proposal by Vice President Saulos Chilima to remove immunity for sitting presidents has advantages and disadvantages.

Today Chilima said time has come for the Constitution to be amended in order to remove the immunity which Presidents of the country enjoy under section 91(2) of the Constitution enjoy, so that everyone in Malawi can be prosecuted for criminal wrongdoing.

He said it is completely misplaced that Presidents of this country have a veil of constitutional protection from criminal prosecution through immunity while in office.

However, a legal expert Professor Edge Kanyongolo said it is not automatic that removing immunity is a good thing or leaving it there is a bad thing or vice versa.

He said if the provision is to be amended, it has to be after the public has debated on its advantages and disadvantages.

‘’ On one hand, the argument to keep it there is that presidents should not be distracted by prospects of prosecution. So there are arguments in favour of that provision’’.

“”And then there are arguments which support the amendment. And those argument say by giving the president immunity, it undermines the fight against corruption. So it’s not automatic that removing immunity is a good thing or living it there is a bad thing. Ultimately Malawians will have to decide through their elected representative in parliament.’

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