Chihana says Malawi needs a federal govt: Chiza first raised issue

Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Enoch Chakufwa Chihana plans to move a motion that members of Parliament to adopt a federal system of government in Malawi once the House resumes sitting next Tuesday.

Currently, Malawi is a unitary centralised state, one where there is one central law-making body and one Executive or government.

But Chihana who is the only lawmaker for his party which once held control of all seats in the north, said a federal system of government would be ideal for the country to free it from political crises because it will strengthen democracy as well as political parties.

“Our political system has to change to suit the Malawian environment. We adopted a system which is very expensive to Malawians. If we adopted a proportional representation as is the case in other countries like South Africa it would be better,” said Chihana, as quoted in The Nation on Tuesday.

Chihana: We need a federal system of government
Chihana: We need a federal system of government

“Basically, Malawi is being ruled by a person who has not been accepted by the majority, which is a very big weakness to the country,” he said.

The move was first drummed up by UK based Malawian social-political activist Ben Chiza Mkandawire, now a ruling Democratic Party (DPP) activist, who argued that a federal system of government would be ideal for Malawi to free the country from constitutional impunity.

Mkandawire said the federal system will also ensure that all regions enjoy equitable development.

He said Federalism is only calling for regional autonomy.

“When Malawi is devolved, legal and constitutional powers will be divided between a national government and various regional governments or provincial assemblies. Each level of government will have policy areas that will be implemented by its semi-autonomous assembly,” he argued.

“Each of the three regional provinces, for example, will have their provincial or regional constitutions, their own governor and, among other things, a regionally-controlled educational and financial systems. The crucial feature in a devolved Malawi will be the division of power which will define a codified constitution, one that cannot be amended by a ruling party to advance new policies unless the people vote for it.

“The result of the devolution will be a greater ability for local decision-making and policy formulation at a localised level,” he added: “For Malawi, devolution will help government address people’s legitimate concerns through local governments and local assemblies.”

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