"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Malawi: Muluzi hires 24 lawyers

A simple sentence, 15 words long, which was permanently
inscribed in Malawi Constitution precisely on Section 83 (3), has
attracted a whooping 24 lawyers across the World to interpret what it

It is said the men of law would be charging minimum of US$ 1, 800 per
hour each seating just to make their argument on how they understand
the sentence individually.

Some of the lawyers come from as far as United Kingdom and Nigeria.
Desperate to get back into power after expiry of his constitutional
maximum terms of office, former Malawi President Bakili Muluzi has
confirmed to have hired 24 lawyers to help fight the law that bars him
stand in next year’s general election.

Muluzi retired in 2004 but now says he has retired from retirement.

Malawi’s Electoral commission announced last month that the fourth
general election would be held on May 19, next year and preparations
for registration are almost through and that very soon the exercise
would begin.

One of leading Daily Newspapers in Malawi quoted Muluzi’s personal
attorney, Farhad Assani confirming that their first meeting was held in
the lake district of Mangochi where majority of the lawyers deliberated
their elementary arguments on the interpretation of the 15 words long

The familiar sentence reads as follows: “A president and or his vice or
second vice shall serve maximum of two consecutive terms.”

Muluzi served his maximum two consecutive terms of five years each from
1994 to 2004 but he has announced his intention to come back and rule.

Faced with this sentence, he has decided to hire the lawyers to help
him change the interpretation of the provision to mean that it does not
bar a president who retired but decided to retire from retirement.

According to Assani who also happens to be his possible running
mate in the polls, some of the lawyers come from various parts of the
world notably, United Kingdom (UK) and Nigeria.

“The team is comprised of members of the bar from far and wide but
there are also a number of locals in total we are 24,” he was quoted as

The two digit figure has become a centre of attack from civil society
who say, Muluzi loves to break Malawi laws. There are fears that
changing this law would be recipe for dictatorship. But Malawi public
has nothing to do, other than watch their laws being raped.

Interestingly this would not be the first time for self nicknamed political engineer Muluzi, to try to rape this law.

In 2003 fearing that his term was coming to an end he bribed Members of
Parliament to change the same laws so as to allow him continue ruling
the country. Badly though he failed, because the MP’s were too few to
change this law.

Each MP according reports pocketed almost US$ 5, 000 which they
never refunded back to Muluzi after the move failed. They all scattered
and feigned innocent.

This time the United Democratic Front (UDF) leader, a rich lavish
man, from a terribly poor, hunger stricken family, wants to spend his
money on courts.

But some secret reports say his closest allies most of whom are retired
judges, advised him to stop, saying it is impossible to bypass, let
alone change this law.

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