Nov 25, 2017 Last Updated 7:59 AM, Nov 24, 2017
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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.

 

The Malawi national soccer team, the Flames, have dropped nine places on the latest rankings released by the World Soccer governing Federation, FIFA.

They are now on position 126 from 117 last month and the team has also dropped to position 34 on the African ladder.

In its latest match Malawi drew one-all against less fancied Lesotho two weeks ago.

Local Soccer pundits are describing the Flames drop as unsurprising judging by the team’s performance which has seen them win twice in eleven matches under the tutelage of Belgian Coach Ronny Van Geneugden.

The team is expected to drop further on the rankings in the next few months as it is not going to be active until at least February next year.

Germany is the number one team in the world while Senegal tops on the African continent. 

The opposition Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) has reacted against the infamous land bill saying it infringes the powers vested in Traditional Authority in owning the communal land.

Speaking to journalists in Karonga on Tuesday after a political rally, AFORD President, Enock Chihana said his party will remove the Land Bill once voted into power come 2019 tripartite elections.

Commenting on rumours circulating around that he is not in terms with his ally, Frank Mwenefumbo, Chihana told the press that their relationship is still cordial and alleged that it is a move by other parties to tarnish the image of his party.

“First and foremost any political party to be successful   there should be discipline and this does not mean dictatorship but democracy so I can assure you that we are in good relationship,” said Chihana.

On issues of land bill, Chihana said this is a very bad bill for Malawi because Malawians are not ready for it hence it needs to be reviewed and reversed.

“During this sitting we need to table it in parliament to review it. This is laughable, you know I have rebuilt the party and this implies that new ideas have been reinstated for change,” he added.

Similarly, in a recent telephone interview with Member of Parliament for Karonga central constituency, Frank Mwenefumbo also said there is no disagreement with Chihana in the party as they have a common goal to rebuild the party not to torn apart their followers.

“I have come to revamp AFORD and I am not after grabbing the top most position in the party. However, I am ready to contest on any position which people will ask me for,” he said.

This follows an allegation that Mwenefumbo has a motive to use AFORD to hook its followers and take them to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a party which the most influential MP in Karonga district is allegedly intending to join.

Commenting on whether there are plans to merge with other parties, Chihana swiftly said there is no immediate plan to ally with other political parties during the forthcoming tripartite elections adding that his party is more vibrant to contest on its own and make victory.

However, he confirmed that the party under his leadership has put on hold its convention which was slated to take place on 16 December due to financial constraints.

The convention will be held in April next year; however officials are concerned as they might lose members to other parties will awaiting for the convention to take place.

RBF Program Extended

The Results Based Financing for Maternal and Neonatal Health (RBF4MNH) program has been extended to April next year.

This has been disclosed by representatives of the program.

Initially, the five year program was supposed to wind up in December 2017 after it started in 2012.

Speaking to Capital FM, the Programs Deputy Director reveals money amounting to MK1.7 billion has been set aside for various activities before the program phases out.

Reagan Kaluluma disclosed MK1 billion will be channeled towards infrastructure development in all the four impact districts.

"The remaining MK700 million will go towards conditional cash transfer to benefiting expectant women as well cash bonuses to health workers," Kaluluma explained.

The program is being implemented in 33 health facilities in Ntcheu, Dedza, Mchinji and Balaka.

It is aimed at contributing to the reduction of maternal and neonatal deaths in the impact districts.

This is so through provision of incentives inform of cash bonus to staff as well conditional cash transfer to expectant women in a bid to increase hospital deliveries.

Further, the program also procures medical equipment besides infrastructure development to benefiting health facilities in a bid to improve quality health care services.

Malawi government under Ministry of Health is implementing the maternal health program with financial support from Germany and Norway governments.

Malawi Imports Slump

Imports into the country are said to have gone down evidenced by low import tax recorded by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).

Imports have for a long time been the country’s major trade problem affecting the economy.

Malawi continues to have a wide trade deficit with exports remaining lower than what enters the country’s borders.

Speaking to Capital FM Tax Authorities say during this time of the year imports tend to shift towards agriculture hence minimising the overall import goods.

This has seen import tax, especially VAT going down.

The same has been seen in Import Duty which has also missed its MK7.6 Billion target, as only MK6.9 Billion has been realised due to a drop in dutiable goods.

But Director of Corporate Affairs for the MRA Steve Kapoloma tells Capital FM that they are optimistic of meeting the expected targets as the financial year progresses.

Meanwhile, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry has requested for a revision of some important Acts governing export of goods.

These include control of goods Act and Special crop Act.

The decision has been arrived at following complaints that the ban on Maize export was lifted too late when farmers had already fetched low prices for the grain.

According to Karl Chokhotho, President for the MCCCI, revision of the Acts will go a long way in ensuring that farmers are selling their commodities at a fair price.

The top exports of Malawi are Raw Tobacco ($702M), Dried Legumes  ($111M), Raw Sugar ($85.4M),Tea ($73M) and Raw Cotton ($25.6M).

The top export destinations of Malawi are Belgium-Luxembourg ($159M), Germany ($147M), India ($101M), South Africa ($75.2M) and the United States ($72.3M).

The top import origins are South Africa ($449M), China ($309M), India($238M), the United Arab Emirates ($236M) and Zambia ($119M).

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