Public Affairs Committee (PAC) immediate past chairperson the Very Reverend Felix Chingota has described his tenure as self-fulfilling and attributed his success to team work.
In an interview on the sidelines of PAC annual general meeting that ended on Thursday in Blantyre, he said PAC made contributions to government and the country at large by providing checks and balances amid criticism from some sections of society, including some members of PAC affiliates, that the grouping had moved away from its prophetic role.
Chingota mentioned Access to Information Act, National Planning Commission (NPC) Act, Green Belt Initiative Authority Act, National Intelligence Act, establishment of the Financial Intelligence Authority and amendment of the Public Audit Act as some areas the quasi-religious body contributed during his two terms of office.
He said PAC has also provided means of conflict management, citing the issue of federalism that arose after the first tripartite elections in 2014.
Said Chingota: “The call was motivated by strong perceptions of political and economic exclusion arising from the difficulties with the management of the current electoral system, the manner in which the results were announced and the subsequent dynamics that shaped the configuration of political power in the country.
“In order to interrogate the issues, PAC organised one national conference and three regional conferences on inclusivity and federalism.”
He said one regret he has is the rejection of Electoral Reforms Bills in Parliament as they had placed much belief in members of Parliament (MPs) who later turned them down.
Said Chingota: “Not only did we put the conditions for suspending the planned demonstration a bit lower, we also had too much confidence in our members of Parliament.
“We expected them [legislators] to mind more about the needs of Malawians rather than their own. However, our MPs showed that they care more about themselves than the people who voted them in.”
The Electoral Reforms Bills that PAC advocated for government to table in Parliament included a proposal for a 50+1 percent majority in presidential elections instead of the current first-past-the-post system and that Section 81 (3) of the Constitution should be amended to prescribe the swearing-in of the President-elect and Vice-President-elect after 30 days.
In an interview after PAC’s annual general meeting, re-elected PAC vice-chairperson Osman Karim said they will resuscitate the Electoral Reforms Bills since it provides a solution to the current political situation in the country.
PAC was formed in 1992 by several religious groups initially to facilitate dialogue during the transition from one party to plural politics.