By Stanley Mkhondoyachepa MANA

President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera has underscored the need to maintain the separation of powers for the three arms of government in accordance with the law.

He was speaking on Monday during the opening address of the first ever National Conference on the separation of powers at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

The president noted that the main challenge to any president`s commitment to oath of office is that many Malawians do not know the functions of a president as prescribed by law.

He observed that part of the reason for this is that there are many Malawians still living, who remembers how the presidency functioned during the one party state and expects it today to function in a similar way.

“In theory, Malawians chose to change their constitution and system of government in the referendum, but in practice, some expectations that many Malawians have of government and their president have elements of the old system,” he said.

Chakwera said he took oath to well and truly perform the functions of the high office of President of the Republic of Malawi, and preserve and defend the constitution and do right to all manner of people according to law without fear or favor, affection.

He wondered at the number of favours that people ask the president, even though they know that the oath he took had him to swear to fulfill the function of his office without favor.

Chief Justice Rizine Mzikamanda hailed the separation of powers conference initiative observing it will help in fostering democracy and the doctrine of separation of powers.

Mzikamanda observed that for democracy to thrive there was need not to concentrate power in one arm of the government as that would be a recipe for abuse.

Speaker of National Assembly, Catherine Gotani Hara said the constitution of Malawi recognizes the importance of separation of powers as a tool to safeguarding democracy.

She emphasized the need for the different arms of government to function independently as prescribed by law.

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