The Malawi government continues to come under pressure to have the Electoral Reform bills tabled in the current sitting of parliament.
Malawians and the Civil Society have been pushing for the bill to be discussed and passed into law for it to be applied in the 2019 General Elections.
Analysis by Christy Gomani
Parliamentarians and voters were looking forward to the current sitting of parliament as the beginning of a new chapter in the electoral system.
There were high expectations that the bill would find its way in.
Since discussions about the bill issue started in 2006, it has been observed that successive ruling parties are reluctant to have the bills tabled.
One of the recommendations in the proposed bills popularly is the 50+1 system.
This would require a winning Presidential candidate to amass over fifty percent of the votes cast, to be declared winner.
This is instead of the current system in which the winner of an election is determined by who has the most votes, regardless of whether they are below or over 50%.
Different stakeholders are opposing the current system, saying it does not guarantee that a candidate assumes the office of the president with majority votes.
Critics believe that successive governments do not support the bills, particularly the 50+1 proposal, because they fear that they would not be able to achieve the required numbers.
Just recently, the Public Affairs Committee issued a statement to push for government to follow through with its promise and have the bills tabled.
A statement was issued indicating that parliament will not be able to discuss the bill during this sitting.
In reaction, PAC is organising nationwide peaceful demonstrations to be held on Wednesday next week.
In a democratic and dramatic response, some chiefs were paraded on the state broadcaster, speaking against the demonstrations, claiming there is need for further consultation if the bill is to be taken before the legislators.
Some of these Chiefs however, are said to have been in previous discussion forums some years back, when consultations about the bill were being made.
This was revealed during Capital FM’s Sunday Round Table program over the weekend.
The Executive Director of Youth and Society Charles Kajoloweka, thinks these chiefs are acting under influence from the government.
Unandi Banda of the National Elections Systems Trust shares the sentiments and thinks the government is failing to walk its talk.
The Leader of the opposition and President of the Malawi Congress Party Lazarus Chakwera feels this is the only suitable time to bring the bill to parliament.
The ruling Democratic Progressive Party, however through its spokesperson Francis Kasaira, maintains that there is need for further consultations before the bills are brought to parliament.
It is high time that stakeholders reached an agreement, bearing in mind that there are only seventeen months left before the next elections are to be held in the country.
If Malawians are fail to prepare, then it is obvious they are preparing to fail.