Former president Peter Mutharika has been stripped of his immunity from prosecution and that he can now face charges, a law expert has said.
University of Malawi’s Chancellor College dean of law Sunduzwayo Madise said following legal ritual of new leader Lazarus Chakwera being sworn in as President of Malawi after winning an election rerun, the immunity has been inherited by Chakwera while Mutharika has lost it.
“And just like that by operation of the law the immunity that the former president had against prosecution and suits is gone,” Madise wrote on his Facebook wall.
Saulos Chilima, the vice-president, during Mutharika regime and remains in that position as Chakwera’s deputy, accused Mutharika of high-level graft.
Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials were involved in numerous graft scandals including former minister Ben Phiri and Chief Secretary to government Lloyd Muhara.
With law degrees from the University of London and Yale, Mutharika left Malawi in the 1960s to settle in the United States.
He returned to the country in 1993 to help draft its first democratic constitution after the fall of Hastings Banda’s dictatorship.
Mutharika went back to the US but returned home in 2004 when his brother came to power, serving as his informal advisor.
A widower for 30 years, Mutharika has three children. In 2014 he married his second wife Gertrude Maseko, a former member of parliament.
Mutharika has been defeated by Chakwera who secured the required majority, with 58.57% of the vote, the electoral commission said.