Former governing People’s Party (PP) says it expects Parliament, which meets from today, to revive the Electoral Reforms Bill, including the shot down proposal for a 50-plus-one voting system in the country.
In an interview yesterday on expectations from the Parliament meeting starting today, Rumphi East legislator Kamlepo Kalua, who is PP vice-president for the North, said constituents are asking for the Electoral Reforms Bill to be retabled in Parliament; hence, it would be appropriate to have the same on the Order Paper—an outline of business in the House.
He said: “We in the PP would be happier if 50+1 Bill would be reintroduced and passed in this November meeting of Parliament for the smooth operations and restoration of people’s trust in elected leaders.”
However, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) deputy spokesperson Ezekiel Ching’oma refused to outline expectations of his party, the official opposition in Parliament, saying they will meet this morning to discuss the way forward.
On the other hand, Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa said the House is open for new bills and motions, but said currently the National Assembly would concentrate on the issues appearing on the Order Paper as agreed by the Business Committee—a grouping of leaders of political parties chaired by the Speaker which works out business to be transacted.
But he cast doubt on the revival of the 50-plus-one legislation as it was shot down in the House.
Nankhumwa, who is also Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said he was not aware of a new draft legislation relating to 50-plus-one system of determining winners of the presidential election.
He said: “There are bills we are prioritising as we start meeting tomorrow [today] that we failed to finalise during the last sitting. We expect to finalise such bills. We also expect to receive other bills in the course of the sitting, but as of now, it is the business that is on the Order Paper we will discuss.”
Some civil society orgnisations (CSO) said last week they still want Parliament to impeach President Peter Mutharika for his failure to respond to issues which they raised in petitions.
The CSOs, under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), said they would lobby political parties to move the motion to impeach Mutharika during the November meeting of Parliament if the President does not respond to their petitions.
Besides constituency and ministerial statements, the issued Order Paper indicates that the House will discuss the reading of six bills for the first time, and nine other bills—including the Tobacco Bill—to be read for the second time and possible introduction of a new bill on loan authorisation for Nkhata Bay water supply project. n