National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust says Parliament should start the electoral reforms as ordered by the Constitutional Court prior to the fresh presidential election.
Nice Trust executive director Ollen Mwabulunju said this on Friday in Lilongwe during a media visibility reflection meeting.
After nullifying the May 21 2019 presidential election, the High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe ordered Parliament to pass Electoral Reforms Bills before holding the fresh election, but the Bills were rejected by former president Peter Mutharika.
But speaking during the meeting, Mwabulunju implored Parliament to show commitment to pass the laws as recommended by the court to bring national stability.
“These reforms are critical to the enhancement of national stability,” he said.
Mwalubunju said in the case of a 50 percent+1, it will ensure that a winning president is voted by the majority.
He said: “This will end the toxic politics of regionalism in the country which is rampant and fuels hatred, nepotism, tribalism, among other things.”
When contacted yesterday, Parliament spokesperson Ian Mwenye said Parliament is ready to start debating any bill that come.
He said: “As Parliament, we wait for the members to bringbills for discussion. But we are ready to start debating them once the members come up with the bills.”
In February, three Bills were presented in Parliament, namely the Private Members Bill (PMB) number one of 2020 Constitutional (Amendment); PMB 3, Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act (PPEA); and the PMB 2 Electoral Commission Act (Amendment) Bills.
Unfortunately, the Constitutional Amendment Bill was shot down which made the two bills incomplete as they were inherently making references to Section 80A of the Constitution which is apparently not there.
The insertion of Section 80A in the Constitution was supposed to give effect to certain orders as directed in the judgement of the High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court to allow the holding of fresh elections.
Currently, the Constitution does not have a clause for fresh presidential elections, with Section 80 only stating that elections of the president and members of Parliament should take place concurrently.
Parliament decided to waive amending the Constitution to consider provisions of the court to hold the fresh presidential election within 150 days of the February 3 ruling. Instead, they chose to amend Parliamentary Acts, so that they meet the deadline as provided by the Constitutional Court.
Meanwhile, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) national director Boniface Chibwana, in a separate meeting, urged government to put in place policies that protect people, stressing that this is a prerogative of any functioning government.
“It’s our expectation that the government will make good policies that protect people and transform their welfare,” he said.
Chibwana also advised authorities to start investing in local civil society organisations to manage matters of election, saying the fresh presidential election has taught Malawians that it’s possible to rely on ourselves.