Malawi MP Nawena rejects Tripartite Elections Bill

Malawian controversial legislator for Thyolo Thava, Lifred Nawena, underlined his divisiveness last Friday when he plainly declared his dislike for constituency councillors.

This came to light during a survey conducted by the Media Task Force on 2014 Elections among Members of Parliament to find out how many of them would support the Tripartite Elections Bill if tabled in the National Assembly.

The survey, facilitated by the Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN), was conducted in Blantyre through telephone calls to 100 legislators (one by one) out of the 193 legislators.

Each of the 100 legislators was asked his or her stand on supporting the bill if tabled during the current sitting of Parliament.

Nawena: I wouldn’t support

The bill is among the 18 which Members of Parliament are expected to deliberate on during the current sitting that reconvened on Monday, October 12.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General Ralph Kasambara last week told delegates to a Public Affairs Committee (PAC) All-Inclusive Stakeholders that the PP Government was determined to hold the tripartite elections come 2014.

He said the bill facilitating the holding of tripartite elections had been worked out and is due for presentation in parliament for debate and possible adoption into the constitution.

But in his classic sort, the Thyolo Thava parliamentarian declared he would not be part of the law makers advocating for the passing of the bill. Nawena was the only one with a no answer during the survey.

“I wouldn’t support it,” asserted the contentious Thyolo Thava Parliamentarian.

The former university lecturer said he would not support the bill for fear of competition with the councilors in his constituency.

Of the 100 sampled legislators, 92 indicated they would support the bill, representing a 92 percent of the surveyed MPs.

“Only seven law makers were undecided. Some said they were not conversant with the tripartite bill and needed more information while others said they would decide right in the National Assembly once the bill is tabled,” explained Deogratias Mmana, Chairperson of Media Taskforce.

The seven undecided MPs included Agnes Penemulungu, Clement Chiwaya, Richie Muheya, Joseph Njobvuyalema, Henry Shaba and Taisisio Gowelo.

And among the notable names to support the bill are President of the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its Spokesperson Peter Mutharika and Nicholas Dausi respectively, President of MAFUNDE, George Mnesa and former Finance Minister Goodal Gondwe.

Others were ruling Peoples Party (PP) Vice President Cassim Chilumpha, Ministers Ken Lipenga, Sidik Mia, John Bande, Ephraim Mganda Chiume, Reen Kachere and Grace Maseko.

Responding to why they would support the bill, the MPs observed that it would make economic sense to hold tripartite elections than hold them separately when the country is already stressed economically.

The MPs also observed once councilors are elected they will be relieved from performing the tasks of councilors in their constituency.

They also noted, with councilors in place, monitoring of developmental projects at district level would be simplified as well as transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Local Development Fund (LDF) would be encouraged.

The Media Task Force was launched in 2010 by MESN, a registered network of civil society organizations in Malawi that works on democratic governance, to help publicise its advocacy work ahead of the elections.

Among others, the taskforce has been conducting media tours across the country seeking views from the voters on whether or not they were for 2014 tripartite elections.

MESN’s mission is to strengthen genuine democratic electoral processes and encourage citizen participation in democratic governance in Malawi through civic and voter education, non-partisan election monitoring, research and documentation, electoral reform advocacy and capacity building of citizen organizations in democracy, elections and governance.

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