Malawi President wants 'bad laws' changed By REX CHIKOKO in Blantyre | Thursday, December 8   2011 at  12:34

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika. FILE | AFRICA REVIEW 

President Bingu wa Mutharika has ordered the Malawi Law Commission to review some of the laws deemed to be against the wishes of people.

President Mutharika’s ruling party DPP, which has majority in parliament, has been accused of passing Bills against the wishes of Malawians, leading to the protests on July 20.

Minister of Justice and Constitution Affair Ephraim Mganda Chiumia said the laws to reviewed included Section 46 of the penal code that empowered the minister of Information to ban newspapers deemed not to be serving the interest of Malawians.

Mr Chiume said the legislation would be sent to the Law Commission, which he said was the first step towards a comprehensive review.

Other laws to be reviewed were the provisions regarding indecent practices and unnatural acts in sections 137A, 153-156 of the Penal Code, popularly known as anti-gay law and Civil Procedures--a law against suits by or against the government and public officers, Local Courts Act 2011 and section 35 of the police Act, 2010--which empowered police to search or make an arrest without providing reasons.

“The government of Malawi wishes to announce to the Malawi nation that in view of the sentiments from the general public regarding certain laws and provisions of certain laws passed by the National Assembly, it is submitting the relevant laws and provisions of laws to the Law Commission for review,” said Mr Chiume.

Political commentators say the government had decided to review the laws in order to attract the aid which donors withheld because of bad governance hinging on the oppressive laws.

Malawi Watch Executive Director Billy Banda said President Mutharika was reacting to demands which members of the civil society issued on July 20 petition.