While Justice Link lawyer and executive director, Justice Dzonzi, has argued that Peter Mutharika’s candidacy can be challenged in a court of law and, thereby, rubbing Democratic Progressive Party die-hards the wrong way, some lawyers have contradicted him arguing that Dzonzi is just desperate to see Mutharika barred from standing for him to utter such remarks.

Dzonzi has been quoted in the press today as saying that the holding of Mutharika’s Green Card can be a limiting factor for him to stand as a Presidential candidate as, according to him, it entails that he owes allegiance to another country which is not allowed in the constitution.

Dzonzi said that his interpretation of the constitution’s Section 80 (7) (d) which says that no person shall be eligible for nomination as a candidate for nomination as a President or First Vice-President or for appointment as first vice-President or second-Vice President if that person owes an allegiance to a foreign country, is that it was illegal for Mutharika then to contest as he holds a green card.

Dzonzi has argued that the fact that a Green card holder is required to pay taxes to the US, has to have a home in the US and in a year has to be in the US for 90 days is enough proof that a holder is one who owes allegiance to the US.

However, some lawyers have faulted Dzonzi’s reasoning claiming a Green card is just a way of one having access to the US easily. Dismissing it on the issue of property ownership and paying taxes, they have argued that Mutharika is not the only one to have properties overseas and that cannot be a conclusive factor to say that one owes allegiance to a foreign country.

“If paying tax is evidence of citizenship, are we trying to say that Professor Mutharika doesnot pay tax to Malawi Government? The Clinton Hunter Foundation pays tax to Malawi Government, so Bill Clinton is a Malawian. Alex Lijuni works and pays tax in South Africa, so he is not a Malawian. Bright Malopa pays tax to the South African government, and Mzondi Lungu pays his to the United Kingdom. And the chinese workers here are all malawians as long as they pay tax here,” argued lawyer, Bob Chimkango.

Mutharika: Candidacy under scrutiny
Mutharika: Candidacy under scrutiny

Christopher Chiphwanya, a lawyer by profession as well, has been quoted as arguing:

“In the US, green cards offer no citizenship status. And allegiance there is owed only by citizens of the US. Allegiance is a term of art with a specific legal definition, and in our laws there is no provision to the effect that a green card holder automatically owes allegiance to the US. These are strictly legal and technical issues, and they are not political.”

He has hit further at Dzonzi arguing:

“Some things that people are saying on this issue are legal embarrassments really. You would do well to google and read the subject of allegiance before making unfortunate statements in public.”

Peter Mutharika’s candidature has been under heavy controversy lately with many legal challenges appearing to be standing in his way. His party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has perceived this as persecution but has said that the party will sail through.

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  1. Mr. Gossip. Transcript of Peter Mutharika’s DPP gossips August 15, 2011 Politics Blogger Ganizani Desmond has transcribed the full text of the secret recording of Peter Mutharika gossiping with Charles Mchacha – text also available on ganizanidesmond.blogspot.com ). Here are the details of the conversation: (Phone rings) Peter Mutharika (PM): Let me answer this . . . hello! MIJ FM: Hello. Good morning, Professor. PM: Yes. Who’s this? MIJ FM: Mwale from MIJ FM. PM: I . . . I’m sorry, who? MIJ FM: Joseph Mwale from MIJ FM. PM: Yes . . . What do you need? MIJ FM: Ah . . . I was talking to the DPP spokesperson, Honourable Dr Ntaba . . . PM: Yes . . . MIJ FM: Who-o said during the NGC meeting, your name was endorsed unanimously as the party’s torch-bearer in 2014, and I’d like to get your reaction to that news now that the party has come out in the shell (clears throat) to endorse your name. PM: Ah . . . I’m in a meeting now errrm . . . Can you call me back in a . . .(speaks to himself) I’ve another meeting and then . . (back to addressing MIJ) Can you call me about 12:30? MIJ FM: At 12:30? PM: Yeah . . . I’ve a meeting . . . Between 12:30 and 2:00 I’m free; then I have a meeting at 2:00. Errrm, call me around 12:30. What’s your name again? MIJ FM: Joseph Mwale. PM: Mwale . . . O.K. Call me at 12:30. MIJ FM: O.K., no problem. (Cuts the line) PM: Do you know who’s this? MIJ . . . they are not on our side, eh? Charles Mchacha (CM): Who’s that? PM: MIJ Radio or something errrm . . . . CM: MIJ, yeah, yeah. PM: They are not on our side, are they? CM: MIJ? MIJ Radio? PM: Yeah, I think Malawi Institute of Journalists. CM: Sometimes . . .But . . . . PM: They wanted to know about . . . (slurs) yesterday’s (slurs again) endorsement . . . What should I tell him? I have to talk to him? CM: Yes! PM: With all these people now I cannot refuse. What should be my reaction? You know, my reaction was to say that, you know, this has been there for a long time . . . CM: Yes . . . PM: That there is nothing really new . . . CM: Yes . . . PM: Slurs. CM: You know . . . PM: Wait! (Answers another call) Yeah . . . yeah . . .Yes. I do at (slurs) . Did you hear? OK, tell him to . . . that I’m in a very important meeting. It may take about ten minutes more and just ask him to wait. Alright, thank you. Bye. (Grunts to recall Mchacha’s attention). CM: Yeah, you have to now PM: (Interrupting Mchacha) This guy is calling from the UK. CM: (Ignores PM’s explanation of the origin of his phone call and speaks at the same time as PM speaks) People they have been asking. Ha, Prof, hey chiyani-chiyani, muyimilire mupange chiyani- chiyani, but you have been quite (sic), making meetings, kampeni ya makhansala, chiyani-chiyani ya . . . PM: (Laughs briefly) Ya MP . . . CM: Ya MP chiyani-chiyani (Both laugh together) PM: (Amid laughter ) I didn’t tell you . . . ( continues laughing) CM: (Still laughing) Kampeni! Tipange Kampeni! Kampeni ya makhansala (They both laugh heartily) Been a long way. PM: Yeah. CM: Now today it’s a reality. PM: Yeah. CM: (Tries to say something not clear) PM: It’s in the open. CM: It’s in the open. So I think you will receive more phones, more questions . . . PM: There will be more nasty things of course . . . CM: Kuti chiyani-chiyani-chiyani. Because people have been speaking, hey, you can beat this one, you can that one (sic), you can this one (sic), but you have been quite. Now time has come yoti nkupanga respond . . . PM: Yes, exactly . . . CM: Pa zomwe anthu akukhala akukakamba. PM: The other teams have started now. CM: Have started? PM: Phoya has started. Joyce Banda has started. So they have started the campaigns now. (Slurs) How to . . . What I was thinking was to say look . . . just like I did when the chiefs were endorsing me that time, I said . . . even when I told a BBC guy in Istanbul when they pushed me on Network Africa I . . . I said look, I appreciate that people like . . . CM: Yeah . . . PM: We all like it for somebody to say nice things about you. CM: Yeah. PM: So I put it on his face and said don’t you like it when people say nice things about you? He said: ‘Oh, yes I like it.’ So I put it on his face! But I said I’ve not yet made up my mind, but now, I have to say that . . . errrm . . . I, I, I think I’ll take this line . . . I, I, I think I’ll say look . . . errrm . . . people have endorsed me . . . CM: Yes . . . PM: I’m flattered . . . CM: Mhhh . . . . PM: And I accept the endorsement of the NGC. CM: NGC . . . PM: But there is still a convention coming. And, after the convention, that’s when I’ll make a formal . . . if the convention selects me, that’s when I’ll outline my policies and so on. CM: Yes . . . PM: And that I don’t know when the convention will be held . . . CM: Yeah . . . PM: But I think we need to hold the convention soon. CM: Yes . . . PM: Because Chimunthu Banda has a plan . . . that’s why (slurs) was worried, because he was the one playing the double standards. He was campaigning with me . . . CM: But he’s against you . . . PM: He’s against me. They are vying for supremacy on this thing. Kandodo would like to run and so would Kutsaira like to run and wants to be either candidate or running mate. (slurs) CM: Yeah . . . yeah. PM: And so Kutsaira has been (slurs) with (slurs) Chimunthu Banda’s side, but Chimunthu Banda is not Chewa. CM: Mhh . . . PM: He’s Tonga from the North. CM: Tonga, yes. PM: Even the way he speaks Chichewa (slurs) CM: Yes . . . PM: (Slurs) the State House will keep an eye on him . . . CM: (Slurs) PM: Yeah, yeah. So they’ll keep an eye on him, errrm, and see what he is doing. That’s why I should say look, certainly I’m glad the National Governing Council has endorsed me but we’ll wait for the convention and at the convention I’ll outline my points. What do you think I should say? CM: Just accept kuti NGC has endorsed me to be candidate in 2014. I am happy, because when people have appointed you, when people have endorsed you it means that they have trust on you (sic). So don’t say much. Don’t say much because poyamba timve kaye ma reaction a anthu kuti kodi ma-reaction a anthu akhala bwanji. PM: Ehe . . . CM: From there tikhala ndizosavuta kuyankha tsopano. PM: You have a good point. I think I’ll just say that they have endorsed my name but this is just a proposal because the decision (slurs) but I’m glad that I received this endorsement just like I’m glad that I received the endorsement from chiefs and other parties – and just leave it at that. CM: Yeah! What I’d like to hear is that kuti outsiders anena kuti chiyani, and also these people amene ali ndi intention ya . . . (Voice recording interrupts: ‘Sorry, you have one minute left for this call’). PM: Yes. CM: Chifukwa izi zachitika tsopano, what can they do? Ndiye kuti Chimunthu Banda abwera kwa inu. Kandodo mmh . . . PM: They’ll come out. CM: Kutsairanso aona kuti kodi anthu awa ali pati . . . PM: Kandodo is on our side. CM: Yeah, yeah. PM: Kutsaira was but we’re not sure now. CM: Yeah. PM: Kutsaira and Masangwi . . . these people are smugglers, that’s what they are, smugglers. CM: Oh, Oh, Oh, you know? I thought that kuti you did not knew (sic) . . . PM: Iiiiih, Ambuye, kuti mpaka . . . (they laugh together) CM: I thought that you are not knew (sic) kuti these people ngakhale mu meeting . . . PM: They’re smugglers. CM: Mabizinesi awo akamagula makapenta . . . PM: Yes . . . And they’re using their positions to intimidate people at MRA . . . CM: To the extent kunena kuti no, iwe wa Mulhakho ukuwononga zinthu . . . .(line cuts). ~ END OFCALL ~


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