Social and governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali has warned that the federalism motion put forward by Mzimba North legislator Yeremia Chihana (Alliance for Democracy-Aford) has been rushed to Parliament and is likely not going to succeed.
Munthali told Nyasa Times in an interview that the motion which was previously defeated in the same House, when it was brought by Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua who only got support from Malawi Congress Party (MCP), should have been tabled after public civic education .
“I am of the view that the motion for Federalism has been rushed and as such is likely to be shot down,” said Munthali.
“It is always important that before tabling such kind of Bills there is need to have a comprehensive public awareness on the merits and demerits of the proposed system of government. Otherwise, what I have observed there is lack of a clear of what Federalism is all about by some of the proponents of the same,” he added.
Munthali observed that there is confusion between federalism and secession, and “hearing some of the demands being made for federalism you realise that they are in fact calling for secession.”
He, nonetheless, said the decision to shift to a new governance system needs to be debated and understood by all Malawians before reaching a decision of whether to adopt such a proposal or not.
Munthali further said that it is important not to simply ignore such calls for Federalism.
“It is important for government and legislators to ask the question why such calls keep on resurfacing. If truth be told, such calls are a reflection of deep frustrations with politics of patronage, nepotism and regionalism championed by those ruling elites and also the failure of decentralisation,” he pointed out.
Parliament has since referred a federalism motion to the Legal Affairs Committee for further scrutiny.
Munthali said there should be public discourse and awareness of what the system is all about and whether it can work in Malawi context or not.
Chihana argues in the motion that in the interest of equitable distribution of resources and development in Malawi, and as a solution to the challenges brought about by quota system in the Education Sector, coupled with the elasticity of Malawi politics, and to ensure equal participation in political decisions, the country needs to change its system of government.
He said: “This House is satisfied that Malawi has now matured to change its system of government. To that end, this House resolves that all efforts and legal framework should be put in place towards the adoption of a federal system of government within a specified period.”
During the debate, most opposition members of Parliament (MPs) supported the motion, saying it was high time the country moved to federalism as it was already taking place indirectly.
However, MPs on the government side argued that passing such a law would divide the country. They also said it was not true that there is no equitable distribution of development projects among the regions.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :