Jan 21, 2018 Last Updated 7:39 AM, Jan 19, 2018

Electoral Reforms Bill Divides Opinion

PAC PRESENTED ITS PETITION TO GOVERNMENT ON THURSDAY PAC PRESENTED ITS PETITION TO GOVERNMENT ON THURSDAY Image taken by John NAMALENGA JNR
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The failure by the DPP administration to table the electoral reform bills during the on-going parliament sitting is dividing the opinion of the public.

Yesterday, a group of civil society leaders presented a petition to parliament, calling for further consultations before the bills are tabled.

This happened hours before Thurday’s presentation of a petition by the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), which is pushing for the tabling of the bills.

While some believe the issue is nonnegotiable, as the government already promised to table the bills during this November sitting, another school of thoughts has emerged.

Bright Kampaundi, and fellow human rights activists have banded together, to form the civil society electoral reform platform.

Their first assignment was to present a petition to parliament, for the government not to table the bills, rather more consultations should be done through the Law Commission.

They argue, only a few individuals were consulted, which is not a healthy development, given the importance of the bills.

The PAC went ahead to present their petition to Parliament in Lilongwe on Thursday.

A representation of the quasi religious grouping, marched from Area 18 roundabout to Parliament Building in Lilongwe yesterday to present a petition to the house and President Mutharika.

In the petition, PAC has given Capital Hill and Parliament until the 29th of this month to table, discuss and pass both the electoral and local government reform acts or face the consequences.

Presenting the petition to parliament, it was narrated that there is need for the 50 plus 1 system to be incorporated in the electoral law to avoid disaster in 2019 polls.

Leaders of the PAC also believe the reforms will be taken on board since Minister of Justice Samuel Tembenu assured them earlier.

 Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Interaction Rafiq Hajat says the wills of Malawians need to prevail.

“Everybody agrees that the legitimacy of an elective government relies on tabling the reforms. So there is no need to argue with that or ask for more consultation,” Hajat added.

Two petitions have been presented so far, what happens next is what most Malawians are waiting to see.

 

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