President Joyce Banda has been urged to declare her assets now as one way to bring transparency and confidence in the presidency and enhance her standing among Malawians.
The call by legal as well as human rights experts come on the back of multi-million kwacha donations The Joyce Banda Foundation has made since she became president just over two months ago.
The commentators have also said that the question of what benefits should be extended to children of the president, especially adult children, is one that needs to be addressed.
The children of former president Bingu wa Mutharika were each assigned round-the-clock state security, even though they were all adults.
A questionnaire The Sunday Times sent to Banda's press office last week about how much she is worth and when was she going to declare her assets had not been responded to as we went to press.
But two commentators spoken to Saturday have suggested that speculations about Banda's "new found fortunes" would be easily tamed if the president declared her assets.
Lawyer Justin Dzonzi dismissed the view by others that since she declared her assets when she was vice president, she does not need to do so now in her new capacity as president.
"These are two different jobs and two different appointments and with different advantages. The nation needs to know how much she is coming into the presidency with for the sake of accountability and transparency. This is a basic rule of good political practice," he said.
Dzonzi added that Malawi also needs to develop a mechanism so that donations
going to and out of presidential foundations are also accounted for to clear the image of the presidency.
"We no longer need to tolerate clandestine donations. We need to open on these things. Whatever is donated to such foundations should be published to deal with speculations and fears of a public official acquiring wealth illicitly or those with money buying favours," he said.
Civil society activist Undule Mwakasungula, who was party to the July 20, 2011 20-point petition to government that among other things demanded that then president Mutharika explain sources of his sudden wealth, also said Banda should make known what she is worth.
"That will give the presidency a more credible and trusted mandate. She is running a public office and you can't say because she declared her assets when she was vice president, then she shouldn't do so now. That's not on. Between then and now, she has accumulated wealth which should be declared going forward," he said.
Mwakasungula said much as the civil society petition was presented to the previous administration, its principles applied to government in general and not to the late President Bingu wa Mutharika in particular.
"This is why civil society organisations are still pressing for the current administration to find solutions to the issues raised," he said.
But both Dzonzi and Mwakasungula agreed that the law on this matter is rather insufficient as it does not indicate enforcement mechanisms.
Former Speaker of Parliament, Sam Mpasu, told this paper in March this year that the existing law on declaration of assets is rather "a silly way of doing things because you can just fill in the figure [the value of what you have] without having to prove it."
Mpasu was speaking on the late Mutharika's declaration he had gone into the presidency already worth K150 million.
According to Mpasu, it is difficult to prove how much a president, a cabinet minister or any affected public official accumulates in their time of service because there is no requirement in the law that they declare their assets on leaving office.
"The laws do not say you also have to declare how much you have at the time you are leaving the office. So if you started with K100 million and at the time you leave you have K150 billion, no one can ask you to prove how you got that wealth. It's not a requirement that
you must also declare your assets on departure," Mpasu said.
In the context of the presidency, the declaration of assets is done through the office of Speaker of the national assembly.