Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and the Government Technical Team (GTT) opened their dialogue yesterday with government representatives committing to take to Parliament proposed electoral laws, including the 50 +1 system of electing the country’s President.
The two sides met at Capital Hill in Lilongwe and tackled several issues, including some resolutions from PAC’s 5 +1All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference held in June which proposed Local Government and national elections reforms.
PAC publicity secretary the Father Peter Mulomole said in an interview last evening the GTT gave an assurance that the two issues would be taken to Parliament in November.
He said: “PAC has been advocating the exclusion of members of Parliament [MPs] as voters at council level and we are asking government to include in the Bill that will be tabled in November this resolution.”
Mulomole said the meeting, held at Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs offices, also discussed the issue of continued bias against opposition parties by taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).
Mulomole said also expressed concern over biased coverage by some private media houses that are constantly attacking both President Peter Mutharika and his administration in both news and programmes.
In a separate interview, leader of the GTT, Samuel Tembenu, who is also Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, said his team gave the commitment to take the electoral laws to Parliament come November.
On MBC, he said government will work with the broadcaster’s board as per provisions of the Communications Act to find lasting solutions to the challenge.
Said Tembenu: “We shouldn’t just deal with MBC, but the media because the important point is to give correct information to the people.”
During the meeting, PAC was represented by board chairperson the Reverend Felix Chingota, the Reverend Timothy Nyasulu and executive director Robert Phiri whereas Tembenu led a team comprising Cabinet ministers Francis Kasaila (Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development) and Nicholas Dausi (Information and Communications Technology) as well as presidential aides Hetherwick Ntaba and Mavuto Bamusi.
PAC was formed during the country’s political transition from one party to multiparty in 1992 and has, over the years, remained a key civil society organisation in areas of human rights, mediation and advocacy. n