Friday, July 12, 2024

Pres. Chakwera Hailed as Guardian of Checks & Balances: Daily Times Editorial Applauds Chamba Bill Rejection

Lazarus Chakwera

In an unprecedented turn of events, mainstream media outlets in the country have lavished praise upon the Executive arm of government, a stark departure from their usual critical stance. This time, the accolades are directed at none other than President Lazarus Chakwera, who has received high commendation from the Daily Times Editorial of Wednesday, 5th June 2025, for his remarkable acumen in upholding checks and balances among the three branches of government.

The editorial lauded President Chakwera as a rare and exceptional leader, placing him in a league of his own. This praise stems from his bold decision to withhold his signature from the controversial Cannabis Regulations, known as the Chamba Bill, which Parliament passed in March. Instead of signing it into law, President Chakwera has sent the bill back to Parliament, insisting on thorough consultations before any further action is taken.

Parliament spokesperson Ian Mwenye confirmed on Tuesday that while the President has assented to 12 other bills, he has deliberately withheld approval of the Chamba Bill, underscoring his commitment to thoughtful governance and prudent decision-making.

“The President has assented to [the] Competition and Fair Trading, Older Persons, Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Amendment, NBS Bank plc and National Bank of Malawi plc (Lake Malawi Water Supply Project) Loan (Authorisation) (Amendment) and some bills. The Cannabis Regulations Bill is not on the list,” Mwenye said.

It is said that the President wants thorough consultations done on the bill.

The sources further indicated that the President’s decision has come after some pastors in the country persuaded him not to assent to the bill, arguing that consultations were not thorough.

“The pastors, through the Public Affairs Committee, sent the President a letter requesting him not to

assent to the bill. So, they pleaded with him not to assent to the bill.

“In their opinion, Parliament rushed the bill,” said the source. Archbishop Mark Kambalazaza, who is the chairperson for the Evangelical Association of Malawi, confirmed that pastors sent the President a letter registering their concerns on the bill.

“We indeed, through Pac, penned the President on the matter and hearing news that he hasn’t assented to the bill makes us happy. That’s wisdom and churches appreciate that very much,” Kambalazaza said.

On March 28 this year, the day the bill got lawmakers’ nod, Justice Minister Titus Mvalo stood in the House and requested that the bill be referred to the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament for further consultations before passing it.

“I am proposing that the bill be referred to the Legal Affairs Committee for further scrutiny and consultations,” Mvalo said. However, owner of the Private Member’s Bill Peter Dimba insisted that Parliament had to proceed with passing the bill, arguing that the committee already scrutinised it on the same day.

“The committee has already gone through the consultation process. So, let’s proceed,” the Lilongwe South legislator is on record to have said. When contacted for a comment yesterday, Dimba said he respects the decision made by the President.

“I cannot question the decision of the President. I trust his judgement on the matter,” Dimba said.

The Daily Times Editorial commented that “Chakwera is not a lame duck president who swallows everything that is put into his mouth.” The comment also took a swipe at Members of Parliament concluding that “Malawians can only hope that lawmakers have learned their lesson. There is no shortcut on national issues.”

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