Ladies and gentlemen, I want to take you back to 2013. There was one newspaper article that read thus: From the High Court in Blantyre, Justice Frank Kapanda has granted an injunction to stop President Bakili Muluzi from appointing the Speaker of Parliament, Sam Mpasu as Minister of Commerce and Industry. In his ruling at the weekend, Kapanda said a judicial review on the legality of the appointment should be conducted within a fortnight. Mpasu has declined the appointment because he fears it is a way of “neutralising him” politically. The beleaguered Speaker told PANA on Monday that his appointment is suspicious because he was never consulted.”
I see it as an indirect move to dismiss me … I will be wrong to accept the job because it puts the legislature in an awkward situation,” he said. Before Kapanda’s ruling, Mpasu’s lawyer Ralph Kasambara argued that Section 53 of the Malawi’s constitution says that one ceases to be Speaker of Parliament when one becomes President, Vice-President or Minister.
Fast-forward to the present. You read the history books and with respect to Mpasu, it says: “He served as minister of commerce and industry, education and Speaker of the Assembly. His appointment as a minister was met with a lot of resistance since he was Speaker of the house at that time.” What happened?
Mpasu travelled to some Southern African Development Committee (Sadc) country. While away, Muluzi appointed him minister of commerce and industry. Upon return, Mpasu vowed to put it on record— as one of the few mortals who can challenge a sitting president for violating the constitution.
He did not use the Attorney-General (who represents the Speaker in court cases by the way), but got Ralph Kasambara to take up his issue with the courts. Muluzi was slapped with an injunction restraining him from making Mpasu a Cabinet minister. Muluzi was not deterred. He was Bakili Muluzi and satekeseka.
One night in 2003, I was watching the evening news. The main story was Mpasu being interviewed. What was the story? He had discussed with the president and there was no longer any disagreement. He had accepted to stop being Speaker and was taking up the ministerial post. Gone were the matukutuku.
What is the moral of this article? No person I know meets Muluzi and stays the same. It just doesn’t happen. Bingu and Muluzi were sworn enemies before 2002. The two met and the rest is history. Muluzi and Mpasu differed heavily on the ministership. The two met and the rest is history. I would not say that President Peter Mutharika and Muluzi have been at loggerheads at any time. No, that would not be correct. But Mutharika and Muluzi met and history is being made.