In Malawi, Vice president Cassim Chilumpha has instructed his lead attorney Fahad Assani to sue the Mutharika led government for contempt of court. The move was taken after the government failed to heed Chilumpha’s ten-day ultimatum, which gave the government time to restore his privileges taken away when he was said to have resigned from his official position.
Assani issued the ultimatum on behalf of Chilumpha after discovering that the latest Secret Telephone Directory issued on July 1, 2006, indicated that there were vacancies in offices of the Vice-President, Principal Secretary to the Vice-President, the deputy to that office and other administrative offices.
According to Assani, the ultimatum also followed government’s non-compliance with a court order Chilumpha obtained when he was deemed to have resigned through his actions, requiring government to restore his privileges, which were removed when President Bingu Wa Mutharika accepted his alleged constructive resignation.
Meanwhile, Chilumpha is under house arrest at Mudi House in Blantyre for a treason case where he is accused of hiring a South African assassin to kill Mutharika.
Analysts believe the treason case came after the vice president successfully obtained a court injunction restraining Mutharika and the Cabinet from accepting his constructive resignation, which meant he had been relieved of his duties as the vice president of Malawi.
Fahad Assani spoke with English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about the vice president’s contempt case against the government.
“A couple of weeks ago, we were required or advised by the vice president as our client, to provide government to honor all the obligations that they are supposed to fulfill considering the orders that has been made y the courts in February this year… Now looking at the intransigence of the government, in ensuring that they do not want at all to comply with court orders and recognize that there is a vice president in this country, ultimately he has now given us his instructions that we should now pursue contempt proceedings,” he said.
Asked why they are choosing to exclude president Bingu Wa Mutharika in the suit, he said,” … we do not want the vice president to be interpreted as having anything persona against the president because, there is none. And we thought him (Mutharika) being the first citizen of the country for now should be left out of this whole thing. At the same time we are also looking at the issue of immunity, which is very clear in our constitution regarding the president being taken to court on any civil or criminal matter. But the only thins is that; orders of the court can be served on the president and that he has to comply,” Assani said.
He adds that, the vice president is aware that government officials are on edge and afraid to implement the court orders because they don’t want to lose their jobs.
Assani explains what the vice president wants to accomplish by the contempt case against the Malawian government.
“What the vice president wants to achieve is to ensure that the court orders that were made, firstly by the court that granted the first injunction. And secondly by the second court that granted an anti partisan injunction and also the ruling that was done by the Supreme Court is obeyed. And that these orders must be obeyed to the latter,” he said.
Assani adds that the vice president wants justice to be served but does not want to prejudice the government since he sees himself as part of it.
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