Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Grace Chiumia has conceded that there are deep divisions within the e governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), saying she is one of the targeted politicians to pull her down.
In trying to put a positive spin to what she said recently that President Peter Mutharika’s administration is not in support of the proposed electoral reforms, especially the proposal to have 50 percent-plus-one majority in the presidential election, Chiumia said some members of DPP are taking advantage of her remarks to fight her.
She revealed that all was not well in the ruling party, saying there were “sharp divisions”.
Chiumia said: “I know the people who are fighting me. I feel sorry that instead of us strengthening the party in readiness for 2019 polls there is internal fight.”
She did not mention the names.
During the rally she held at Mpherembe in Mzimba West Constituency last week, Chiumia said Malawi was not ready for change in elections management, as it will be a waste of resources.
She said: “There is this clergy group called PAC which wants to confuse people on elections as they are advocating for the 50 percent plus one system in electing the President. We have seen how problematic this system has been in other countries because every time a candidate doesn’t get the required votes, then a rerun takes place, which is expensive.
“Money meant for reruns should be used in constructing roads, buying medicine in hospitals and many other things. I beg you people of Mzimba West, let us all reject this proposal. Join the President so that these people don’t confuse you. Reject this. As government, we don’t support this. We don’t want it.”
Ironically, two other Cabinet ministers who attended the rally— Jappie Mhango (Transport and Public Works) and Goodall Gondwe (Finance, Economic Planning and Development)—did not comment on Chiume’s remarks in their addresses to the meeting.
But Chiumia said Malawians “misinterpreted”her remarks.
“What I meant is, it is my responsibility to outline the disadvantages of such reforms so that Malawians can properly make a decision afre comparing the advantages which PAC and other stakeholders are advocating,” she said.
Chiumia said she has written PAC to clarify her remarks, saying her ministry ‘s mandate is to civic educate the people.
PAC has organised nationwide marches on December 13 2017 to demonstrate dissatisfaction with how government has handled electoral and local government reforms.
The Electoral Reforms Bills include an amendment of Section 80(2) of the Constitution and Section 96 (5) of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act proposing 50 percent+1 percent majority in presidential election and an amendment of Section 81 (3) of the Constitution for swearing-in of the President and Vice-President to be done after 30 days.
Proposals to have the reforms date back to 2004 and the subsequent Constitutional Review Conference in 2007.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :