Malawi’s president Joyce Banda and her People’s Party led government clock 100 days in office tomorrow amid calls from the civil society and political commentators for her to declare her assets to the public to ensure transparency and accountability in her administration.
It is not yet known whether Banda has yet adhered to the Constitutional requirement of declaring assets but since assuming office, Banda, through her private Joyce Banda Foundation and Hilda Mtila Foundation has given out millions of kwachas.
During the 100 days she has been in office, the President among other donations, dished out about K4 million to Maula prison, K2 million to Boxing Association and K1.5 million to Red Cross Society and scholarships.
A political Scientist Henry Chingaipe said in an interview yesterday that it was important for the president to make her wealth known to the public. “If the president has not yet declared her assets, it’s important to do so because it’s the law that mandates her to declare the assets,” he said.
He was also quick to point out that the declaration of assets was useless because the law is not supported by an enabling act.
“The main problem is the law, we have that provision in the Constitution but failure to have an enabling act is making the law blank. Let the government come up with an act that will support that law.
“The act will enable the country to know what action to take when one fails to declare the assets, how to verify the declaration and making a follow-up of the declarations made,” Chingaipe said.
Law professor Edge Kanyongolo said it was unfortunate if the president has not yet declared her assets.
“She might have declared assets when she was the Vice President but this is a different office, therefore the country should know how worth the president is,” he said.
Kanyongolo said it was important for the president to ensure that the Constitution is obeyed at all times. Malawi Watch Executive Director Billy Banda also asked the president to make her assets known to the public.
“You may wish to know what many have known the President as a generous and good hearted person, whilst others are speculating that she is hiding information because she is withholding more information of the amount of money people are speculating were found with the late president,” he said.
“This could be cleared if she can tell the nation as she is clocking 100 days and also complying with the law on declaration. This is an important legal requirement,” he observed.
He observed that the declaration law has been shunned and not complied with by Malawi’s leaders. “Malawi went through serious abuse on all fronts leaving people speculating that the former president accumulated political and economic wealth at the expense of ordinary Malawians. She is encouraged to stand above people’s expectations in complying with the law,” he said.
Asked, if President Banda declared assets, Parliament spokesperson Ian Mwenye referred the matter to the Speaker who could not be reached on his mobile phone.