Impeachment, travel ban scared Chakwera

…motion was being planned for this sitting…

…MCP rebels want elections, Simbi Phiri..

Embattled President Lazarus Chakwera was informed of an impending impeachment plan and travel ban and that he had lost public confidence that he rushed to act on ACB Director General Martha Chizuma’s interdiction. 

The Investigator Magazine list of officials facing possible sanctions and travel bans also rattled the Malawi leader.

The Investigator Magazine was working on a story that President Chakwera risked being impeached by parliament as secret plans are being developed to present an impeachment motion accusing the president of acting against the interests of  Malawians, condoning corruption and lying to the nation. 

The story the Investigator Magazine was about to publish narrates the impeachment plot. The Magazine is yet to get reaction from some of the plotters on recent developments regarding Chizuma.

The President has also lost the plot with his own party as some want him out of the party and we can reveal most of his parliamentarians are eager to see the back of him and have been courting business mogul  Simbi Ashan Phiri to run against Chakwera at the party convention. The MCP legislators are said to have given a green light to supporting impeachment if the motion includes elections within 150 days from removing Chakera with Simbi Phiri as a candidate.

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But MCP spokesperson Maurice Munthali was dismissive of the plot saying “such agenda is being orchestrated by political adversaries whose hunger is for plot number one,” and that it would not succeed. Munthali however did not comment about Simbi Phiri taking over from Chakwera either after impeachment or during the forthcoming party convention.

The UDF leader in parliament Nedson phoya distanced his party from impeachment saying his party would prefer “ballot in two years time” than impeachment which is a long process. He however indicated that parliamentarians would be protesting the mess on critical issues affecting Malawians. However three UDF MP’s said they will support the impeachment if it came from another party.

“Lawyers were hired by an inter party team of MP’s who are being assisted by several leaders including from the church to draft an impeachment motion to remove President Chakwera from office. The MPs include some leading faces from the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) who want elections to be part of the impeachment motion that after he is impeached, elections will be called within 150 days and MCP will have a new candidate to run as well,” revealed one of the team members.

The MP’s involved include those from DPP, MCP, UDF, UTM and independents and the charges according to a second person we have identified as being part of the team are serious violation of constitutional oath to serve Malawians, breach of section 12 of the constitution, lost of public trust and protecting the corrupt against public interest. “His failures to lead including his own admission that he did not know who ordered Chizuma’s arrest, he acts and omissions on those committing corruption including the serious allegations levelled against SPC Colleen Zamba, corruption in AIP programme and failure to manage the economy and food shortages all point at a failed President. Parliament has a duty to stop the country from degenerating,” she said.

One of the  lawyers we contacted could not confirm nor deny being part of the team drafting the impeachment of President Chakwera but said he woul be “happy to provide pro-bono services to stop Malawi from sinking.”

“The President seems to know he can’t win again. He wants the whole country to sink with him. He has been captured so badly that you dont know if the person whom we call the President is really aware of anything. He has violated his oath office through and through and he is no longer acting in the interest of Malawians but his few corrupt family and friends,” charged the lawyer.

According to the plan, the motion could come before the tabling of the budget and an MCP MP is being prepared to present the motion. Our source said the team evidence includes the recent resignation letter by Legal Affairs Committee Chairperson Peter Dimba who cited the failure and frustrations in fighting corruption and called Chizuma’s interdiction as being “choreographed” by the state.

MCP publicity secretary Reverend Maurice Munthali said there were no grounds for the removal of the President and such a process would fail.

“I have no idea regarding the matter. As a party, we do not believe or even envisage that such a move would be considered by the State President. From where we stand, there would be no sufficient ground to impeach Chakwera unless the agenda is being orchestrated by political adversaries whose hunger is for plot number one,” said Munthali who said as  a party the do not speak on parliamentary issues as the legislature is an independent arm of government.

Another legislator whose name was associated with impeachment was Mzimba North MP Yeremiah Chihana but on Saturday he rejected the assertions saying, “I did my part when I put the motion for the date of election for Chakwera to be President. I can’t be the one to impeach him, that will be unethical. I am not aware and I am not part of it.”

Phoya for UDF said, “Impeachment takes too long and the procedure is cumbersome for African systems. On my part I would wait for the next two years and remove him through ballot.” However a UDF parliamentarian said, “If an MCP parliamentarian brings it, I will be more than happy to support it. So far it is just rumours, we have not heard of the people being very organised.”

The Investigator Magazine could not immediately establish the link between the recent surprise firing of former Gender Minister Patricia Kaliati and the impeachment, but reports indicate that Kaliati might have come to know of some senior UTM official who was visiting Chawera frequently and reported back to UTM amid a process of the party trying to find alternative means of dealing with the aftermath of UTM President and Vice President Saulos Chilima’s arrest. We cannot confirm independently if UTM as a party is involved in the impeachment process.

Since December we can reveal that Chilima has had several meetings with Simbi Phiri but the nature of their meetings has not been known, whilst Zamba, former Director of Public Prosecutions Steven Kayuni and Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda and others including MCP parliamentarians.

Chilima’s spokesperson Pilirani Phiri in an earlier interview said “The Vice president is free to meet whoever he wants but I do not have details of the said meeting,” while Simbi Phiri spokesperson Daniel Mababa said in January that most politicians who he had met were during “Simbis’ wife birthday” and people should not develop political theories out of such a gathering. Mababa has not responded to our latest questions regarding propositions to have him take over MCP leadership.

UTM spokesperson Felix Njawala and DPP spokesperson Shadrec Namalomba promised to respond. They had not done so at the time of publication. We will update the story when we get their official responses.

We have not asked State House for comment as they did not respond to our previous questionnaires.

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