The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has started engaging Malawi presidential hopefuls on constitutional issues affecting the nation, including Section 65 of the Constitution which deals with crossing the floor.
PAC executive director Robert Phiri in an interview on Sunday said the organisation will hold their first meeting with United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential hopeful Atupele Muluzi on Wednesday.
“The presidential interface meetings emanate from the PAC all-inclusive stakeholders conference in October 2012. We have lined up a number of meetings with presidential aspirants, but we are starting with UDF,” he said.
He could not give more details on issues PAC is taking to presidential candidates, but stated that there are constitutional issues, including the infamous Section 65 of the Constitution.
“There are also issues of economic governance and policy changes. We want to look back at the 50 years of independence and how best to turn around the bottlenecks to development.
“But the board of directors will come up with specifics on Tuesday that is when we will know the issues,” he said.
Phiri would not say which other parties are lined up for the meeting, indicating that there are some that have already confirmed the meetings, but details will be announced later.
Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) executive director Rafiq Hajat welcomed PAC’s move as positive development.
“PAC played a role since the birth of multiparty democracy. Bringing up these burning issues reviews what the presidential aspirants have and to what extent. It will shape who has directions or not. I will support it 100 percent,” he said.
PAC is a civil society, interfaith organisation made up of the main protestant, Catholic and Muslim faith groups in Malawi.
It was founded in 1992 by the religious community and other pressure groups in Malawi to enter into a dialogue with Kamuzu Banda’s Presidential Committee on Dialogue in the transition period from the one-party to the multiparty system of government.
PAC held its first all-inclusive stakeholders conference in March 2012 where, among other resolutions, delegates gave former president Bingu wa Mutharika 60 days to resign or call for a referendum within 90 days.
Mutharika died of cardiac arrest on April 5 2012.
In October 2012, PAC held its second conference to review progress on the issues raised at the first conference.