Leader of Opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera has said the opposition is following the unfolding events on the Electoral Reforms Bills and will act after this week.
Chakwera, who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, is on record as having threatened to boycott Parliament should government fail to table the bills during the ongoing meeting.
In his response to President Peter Mutharika’s State Opening Address to the 47th Session of Parliament two weeks ago, Chakwera observed that government had promised to table the bills and wondered why the promise was “being tossed”.
But in an interview yesterday on what the opposition will do in the wake of remarks by Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu that government has its own timeline, Chakwera could not decisively say their next move.
He said briefly: “We shall map our way forward when the minister’s word comes to naught after this week.”
But University of Malawi’s (Unima) political analyst Ernest Thindwa said it was obvious that the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was not interested in having the bills tabled, as such, they would do everything to frustrate the process.
He said: “Again, it is also clear that PAC [Public Affairs Committee] is limited to an advisory role, as such, they cannot enforce so this means it will depend on the interest of government.
“PAC has so many options they need to mobilise masses and make their voices herd that could perhaps make the government change its mind.”
Thindwa said although Malawians are generally passive in terms of collectively demanding what is deemed good for the nation, in other countries people have made demands and have peacefully demonstrated and made their voices heard by governments.
PAC executive director Robert Phiri yesterday said the group’s executive board will be having another emergency meeting today to discuss some of the emerging developments.
The Malawi Law Commission issued its report early this year in which it proposes at least six bills which include changing the current simple majority [first-past-the-post] system of electing a President to the 50+1 system.