The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) yesterday engaged Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya ahead of the November meeting of Parliament, lobbying him to include Electoral Reforms and Local Government Council Composition laws in the business schedule.
Parliament’s Business Committee, chaired by the Speaker, is due to meet this Friday where the government and opposition sides will agree on matters which will be brought to the House during the five weeks meeting.
PAC chairperson the Reverend Felix Chingota said government had committed to bringing the bills to Parliament; hence, their engagement of the Speaker was one step further to ensure the wishes of Malawians are fulfilled.
He said: “There is commitment from the government that they will present the bills, what remains is that the bills be presented to Parliament. The meeting with the chairperson of the business committee was to share with him what we have gathered from people and seek his support, make sure MPs sufficiently debate the vote in favour of the bills.”
PAC has lobbied various stakeholders, including political parties, on the election bills, specifically the clause on 50+1 electoral system.
“Malawians are keen that a national leader should be elected by the majority. If these bills are not tabled, it will be a slap in the face of the citizens and it be will up to them to decide the next course of action,” said Chingota.
On his part, the Speaker said he was hopeful that the bills would be tabled in the first weeks of the meeting to allow for further consultations by members of Parliament (MPs) and other stakeholders.
He said: “No doubt that Malawians in general and members of Parliament are in favour of the changes being proposed so I see the Malawi Parliament doing the same. The indications I am getting from the government side is that they are ready with the bills and they are also ready to make sure they are tabled.”
PAC has so far engaged the leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera and the Government Technical Team over resolutions of the 5+1 All Inclusive Stakeholders Conference held in June which, among others, included proposals on the local government reforms and electoral reforms.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu told the Budget Meeting of Parliament the bills will be tabled in Parliament this November. He also reiterated the promise during a meeting with PAC. n