June 19, 2021

PAC, No Law to Produce Report

Former Attorney General, Ralph Kasambara SC, says the Law grants Public Appointments Committee [PAC] of Parliament authority to confirm the Director of Anti-Corruption Bureau [ACB] and it does not state that PAC should produce a report.

Kasambara said where the law wants the whole House to confirm an appointee, the law does not shy from saying so and any attempt to arrogate that power to the National Assembly must have some statutory underpinning.

He said the power to confirm a public officer is not a matter of parliamentary procedure citing other equally qualified persons such as Mrs. Mary Nangwale, Atuweni Juwayeyi, Agrina Mussa, Professor Brown Chimphamba etc who were rejected by PAC.

Kasambara was reacting to a letter by the NGO GCN and its consortium affiliates, Women’s Manifesto Movement, Women Lawyers Association, HRDC and National Advocacy Platform to the Speaker of the National Assembly to avail information pertaining the meeting between PAC and Ms. Martha Chizuma.

In the letter, the four consortium members are demanding guidelines or criteria of assessment for the interview, textual or audio verbatim recording covering the actual interview process and individual score sheets with justifications that were utilized in tallying the final score.

The HRDC is demanding President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to resubmit Martha Chizuma’s name for the second time so that PAC has to confirm it while Malawians have sent a strong warning whether PAC or not, they will take Chizuma to the ACB by themselves describing her as the only one who can walk the talk with Chakwera in the Magulification of Malawi.

Kasambara said it is neither fair nor right to ask the President to resubmit Martha Chizuma’s name to PAC, as the law does not grant the president that right, and judges would call that abuse of parliamentary process.

He added if the public is so minded to bring Martha Chizuma back the solution lies in amending the law, cautioning them that it is bad practice to change the law to suit a particular individual or situation the framers of the constitution had good reason for legislating checks and balances, they had good reason for opting for Public Appointments Committee [PAC] and not the whole House.

Meanwhile, one social media commentator, Onjezani Kenani  has written on his Facebook page that at least one Supreme Court Judge and one crooked lawyer are trying hard behind the scenes to stop the confirmation of Martha Chizuma as Director General for Anti-Corruption Bureau [ACB].

“…I am not naming names at this stage, but will do so when push has come to shove…,’’ reads Kenani’s writing on the wall. 

By Vincent Gunde

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