Attorney General Ralph Kasambara, who is also Minister of Justice has dismissed arguments, that he is infringing principles of conflict of interest further by being Director of Legal Affairs in the governing People’s Party.
Kasambara was reacting to comments by political analyst Henry Chingaipe who said by being both Attorney General and Minister of Justice, he is already in a position of conflict of interest.
That, he said, has been worsened by the fact that he has now become a legal director in the PP.
“Given that Mr Kasambara is Attorney General and Minister of Justice, there is a real issue of conflict of interest with the new partisan post of Director of Legal Affairs. These three offices will shade into each other and the conflation may not serve the interests of democracy and the legal profession very well,” Chingaipe offered.
Chingaipe, who is Executive Director for the Institute for Policy Research and Social Empowerment (IPRSE), said the president could separate the offices of Attorney General and Minister of Justice and “treat the former as a technical, non political public service office”.
Kasambara has been known to be president of the Congress for Democracy, a political party that has been inactive but Chingaipe thought the creation of that party could have been just a way of creating political opportunities.
“It is clear that one cannot be a President of one party and Director of Legal Affairs in another party,” said Chingaipe in an interview.
But Kasambara said Malawi follows a British system where the Attorney General is part of the executive branch of the government.
He argued that under the Malawi Constitution, the position of the Attorney General can be held by either a politician or a public servant.
“In fact, our constitutional and political history has it that under the Bakili Muluzi Administration in fact two gentlemen held combined posts of Attorney General and Minister of Justice as I do today,” he said.
He also said he resigned from Code three months ago.