Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika Wednesday October 1 returns home from the recently concluded trip to New York for UN general assembly, only to come face to face with the growing calls for federal system of government
There has been strong movement from the people of the North Malawi proposing federalism and calling for a national referendum on the same. Some quarters are even advancing for the North Malawi to be a standalone country.
However, progressive federalism is being supported by even the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
MCP spokesperson Jessie Kabwila confirmed the party engaged Public Affairs Committee (PAC) on the federal system of government and asked the religious body to facilitate a debate.
The CCAP Synod of Livingstonia has argued that the push for federalism should be national.
And the Mutharika government through its spokesman Kondwani Nankhumwa said they will embark on a national wide civic education tour on federalism and North Malawi independence; an exercise he said will lead into a referendum on two matters.
“Government has no intention to stifle debate on either federalism or secession. We have noted that even those that are propagating for the system are falling short of understanding on how it works. So we will embark on a national wide civic education for Malawians to appreciate the positives and negatives of the system, and if the need be, government will call for a referendum on the matter,” said Nankhumwa.
He said a referendum will be called when people have been sensitised and enlightened on the issues in question.
“The way the issue is being presented to Malawians at the moment, is as if it is for the northern region. Malawi is one, and all the regions will fully participate in every step of its deliberation. And it may happen that after this civic education exercise, Malawians may never want to further debate on this issue,” said Nankhumwa who is also Minister of Information, civic education, and tourism.
Mutharika has been challenging those agitating for federalism or secessionm calling such calls as unnecessary .
He is scheduled to meet PAC members to discuss the issues.
In Africa, federal system of government is practised in some countries including South Africa and Nigeria.
The term federalism is used to describe a system of government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units such as states or provinces, while secession refers to an act of an area or group becoming independent from the country or the larger group that it belongs to.
While in US Mutharika was privileged to meet with UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon on matters of democracy, human rights, peacekeeping, health, trade and investment.
He also addressed the UN General Assembly.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :