Analyst says federalism motion rushed, faults DPP regionalistic tendencies

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: There is need to have a comprehensive public awareness on the merits and demerits of federalism

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.

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Lester
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Lester

Munthali, I want to agree with you 100 percent when you say issues concerning federalism first should have been discussed before tabling it. People do not understand how it works. However, to fully blame it on the current regime is wrong. This issue has made its way into parliament many times before now hence the blame cannot be allocated to one government. However you have also rightly pointed that some are confusing federalism with secession. They’re forgetting that even under federalism, there still will be head of state. What seems more plausible is discussing 50 plus one first, and the… Read more »

Nyondo
Guest

It is very unfortunate to see well educated people even the legislature failing to understand the system. You better go to Government of Zambia or south Africa they will teach you. That is the system which they are using. Those who are preaching of division of the country wakula ndi umbuli basi or may be they are doing deliberately

New Person
Guest
New Person

Let us table several systems of governance and choose the one which can best suit Malawi. Do not forget that decentralization introduced by government has created chaos in District Councils. this has to be handled with sober mind and understanding for the good future of our country. The only problem is that the one introducing the bill can never be trusted.

chayamba
Guest
chayamba

Mr Munthali you have a good observation but there is no need of civic education to the masses as if everyone will vote for it. It is not referendum. It is only the MPs who will vote and the majority will take the day.

VYOTO
Guest
VYOTO

The two Mutharika’s(Late Bingu and Peter) have by far divided Malawi, why should we hide the truth. It is an open secret.

Lester
Guest
Lester

I assume you were not born when Kamuzu was sending people back to their homes. When parastatals were full of those from the centre. When the capital city was taken away from the south to the centre. When the North wore green, the centre wore red and the south wore blue. Let us not forget our history and make rushed statements. However any form of division by anyone in Malawi should not be accepted.

Mr Truth Pains
Guest

The country is already divided by Peter Muntharika so why should we wait any longer??

Federal government is ideal standard , there will be equitable distribution of resources indeed.

Just adopt it, why so scared when the rest advocate for it?

Let southern region spend it’s resources within southern , Central and Northern Region do likewise.

Not taking resources from either region to another region . Build Nomads and BB Stadia with southern region resources. Build Mzuzu Stadia with Northern Region resources.

Doba Doba
Guest

AGALU AMBWENU MBWENU SIBWENI NDI ANZANU OBVALA MASAKAWO MUKUMVA PAIN HEAVY NDI PITALA NDI DPP MMUMVA KUWAWA HEAVY AKANGANYA INU !!

George
Guest
George

Mwangodziwa kuswana opanda malo kumangodalira za kwaanzanu. Mumapangitsa njala ndinutu Mmalawi muno

Henry Mdebwe
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Henry Mdebwe

Once upon time, Dowa east and Dowa west were an interesting political case study at Chanco. Tobacco and groundnut growing Dowa west was disportionately dominated politically by dry cotton growing Dowa east. Poverty does make people become political. If indeed it is true that the national cake consumption is skewed towards the south, like Dowa east, no wonder why central and northern regions are on rooftops shouting foul. I, therefore, agree with those who feel that there has to be governance change. However, federal governance is a wishful and lacking in economic growth and wealthy distribution strategy. With 109 parliamentary… Read more »

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