The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has asked government to table the Electoral Reforms Bill as well as the LocalGovernment Reforms Bills by Wednesday next week or face nationwide protests.
PAC chairperson Reverend Felix Chingota said this as he led a march from Area 18 to Parliament in Lilongwe where they presented a petition to the State president and the Speaker of Parliament.
PAC, Law commission and some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have been consulting various
stakeholders including government to solicit views of Malawians on the proposed electoral reforms.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu also promised people during his speech in Parliament that the electoral reforms bills will be brought to Parliament during the current sitting but since then there seem to be no move on the matter from the government side.
In the petition, PAC has asked government to do the following; ensure that government tables Electoral Reforms Bill including during the current Parliamentary sitting, ensure that government tables Local Government Act reforms bill including the removal of Members of Parliament (MPs) voting powers at council level, ensure the reforms are tabled by 29thNovember this year failing which PAC will hold a peaceful march nationwide.
PAC also want government to prioritise the reforms bill so that they are completed during the current sitting and ensure that they uphold the will of Malawians saying shifting them would be tantamount to suffocating constitutionalism and the collective will of Malawians who put leaders into their respective positions.
Receiving the petition on behalf of the president, Lilongwe City Council (LCC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Charles Makanga said he will deliver the petition to the relevant authorities on time.
On the other hand, Legal Affairs Parliamentary Committee Chairperson Maxwell Thyolera, who is also Malawi CongressParty (MCP) MP for Lilongwe North East, received the petition on behalf of the speaker.
Thyolera said his committee is very ready to discuss the reforms as soon as they are presented to them.
“We are waiting for the business committee to bring the bills in Parliament. As members of Parliament and as Legal Affairs Committee we are ready to debate the bills in Parliament and consequently turn them into laws,” he said.
On Wednesday, two people claiming to be leaders of civil society organizations also presented a petition to
Parliament asking the house to do some more consultations before bringing the bills to parliament.
However, commenting on this, Thyolera said enough consultations on the electoral reforms have already been done by recognized and credible task forces and that the results were recommended by credible organisations including the Law Commission.
“To say wider consultations were not done is far from the truth, because most the recommendations on these bills emanates from a report by the constitutional review of 2007 which also has the backing of the Law Commission,” Thyolera said.