Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has reminded newly elected President Peter Mutharika on the pledges he made before the May 20 Tripartite Elections to declare his assets within three months after election and ensure implementation of Section 65 of the Constitution which deals with crossing the floor.
PAC held presidential interface meetings with all candidates in the run-up to the elections where they presented 19 issues of concern, among them implementation of Section 65, review of the Constitution, declaration of assets and size of Cabinet.
PAC executive secretary Robert Phiri said on Wednesday it was their hope that the new leadership would stick to the pledges made in the minutes prepared by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) itself.
Said Phiri: “Given the electoral challenges of the past weeks, legal reforms are imperative to deal with the constitutional issues as outlined in the DPP minutes.
“PAC has a strong structure to influence policies and laws at the moment and we are well equipped to do advocacy work in most difficult times as has always been the case.”
In the minutes made available to The Nation, DPP reaffirmed its stance that Section 65 should be reviewed and include a clear definition of crossing the floor while removing powers from the Speaker to determine because court injunctions have previously prevented implementation of the provision.
So far, Mutharika has clearly said his party would not allow movement of politicians between parties and would allow Section 65 to take its lawful course.
DPP pledged that there would be no appeasement in the appointment of a lean Cabinet which PAC argued had a bearing on government expenditure and has promised to reduce the size of the Cabinet to 20, including deputy ministers. PAC recommended 16, excluding deputy ministers.
Mutharika and his delegation to the presidential interface meeting promised that declaration of assets would be done before the three months period as mandated in the Declaration of Assets Act.
However, the Act has come into effect while Parliament has not established the Office of the Director of Public Officers Declarations which would be required to receive declarations before gazetting them for public consumption on request from the director’s office.
On calls for a fresh constitutional review, whose 2007 report has never been implemented, DPP concurred that a fresh review be conducted, including the independence of the Judiciary on political issues.
On how PAC would ensure adherence, Phiri said the organisation was focusing on transformative leadership and will continue to engage the DPP strongly to ensure the realisation of the pledges.