Legal experts expressing mixed views over President’s immunity from prosecution while in office

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Legal experts are expressing mixed views on some of the country’s laws, especially the ones that give the Head of State immunity from prosecution while in office.

Section 91 Sub Section 2 of the Republican Constitution says that no person holding the office of the president shall be charged with any criminal offense in any court during his or her term of office.

The debate has been triggered by developments in South Africa where leaders of the opposition Democratic Alliance (D.A) have laid criminal charges against President Jacob Zuma, accusing him of abusing public funds amounting to over 23 million dollars.

Malawi’s first Head of State Dr Hastings Kamuzu found himself in the dock, answering murder trial after vacating House Number one, while first democratically elected president Bakili Muluzi is still shuffling between his BCA residence and the courts answering corruption charges.

In an interview with the media, associate professor of law at the Chancellor College, Edge Kanyongolo says there is need to review the law that give presidents the powers to appoint heads of prosecuting bodies.

He adds that politics often undermines issues of governance, which in turn reduces the moral standards of certain bodies and individuals.

On his part, President of the Malawi Law Society (MLS), Mandala Mambulasa believes not much can be done to change the status quo as the laws are crystal clear on immunity of the leaders.

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