Malawi Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have given their “unwavering support”to the continued public calls for the Democratic Progressive Parrty (DPP) government to honour its earlier pledge of tabling the electoral reforms Bills in the current sitting of Parliament.
The CSOs pointed out in a statement that while commending the efforts of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and other selected CSOs for sticking to their mandate by being the voice of the voiceless in piling pressure on government to live up to its promise, they have observed with “great concern” some covert and overt attempts by some stakeholders to frustrate these reforms.
“We wish to categorically dismiss the misleading suggestions by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and some quarters that PAC and others have ambushed government and Parliament on the Reforms when in actual fact government already committed itself to tabling these Bills a long time back in April 2017 – meaning it had ample time to prepare for the tabling of these Bills.
“So what PAC and other stakeholders have all along been doing on the issue is to simply remind government on its earlier pledge based on the constitutional principle that those who govern do so on sustained trust of the people. It is in this regard that we view the remarks by the Minister of Justice Hon. Tembenu on the demands by PAC and others as out of order, and if anything such remarks are an attempt to institutionalize impunity,” reads the statement signed by amonth others Youth and Society (YAS) executive director Charles Kajoloweka, Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence, executive directors for CHRR and Cedep among others.
The campiganer said thet are concerned with DPP’s “ hired mercenary CSOs” aimed at blocking the citizen’s voice on electoral reforms by spreading the lie that there has not been enough consultations on electoral reforms particularly the 50+1 electoral system.
“We recall that some of these mercenary CSOs were also hired by the previous regime to fight the mainline CSOs attempts to hold the then government accountable.
“While the undersigned CSOs recognize that every citizen has freedom of expression, we believe attempts to mislead the nation on the reforms are unacceptable. We would like to remind the current regime and these so-called CSOs that the call for the 50+1 electoral system, the need to have transition procedures and elections management fund amongst others were born out of thorough nationwide consultations with key ones traced as far as 2006/7 as climaxed in the Constitutional review. It was clear since then that these issues had generated public endorsement hence the April Special Law Commission report’s recommendations to have them legislated.”
Besides, the CSO’s said in their “20 months assessment of Joyce Banda in office: a missed opportunity to reclaim public trust statement” led by CHRR and Cedep, they reminded government on the need to priotise the 50+1 electoral system.
“ It is in this regard that we view such attempts to frustrate the electoral reforms in general and the 50+1 electoral reform in particular as ill-founded. “
The CSOs stated that they fully support PAC’s 7-days ultimatum on electoral reforms and appeal to the Members of Parliament including those in opposition to protest the failure of government to table these electoral reforms Bills
They have since called on government and MPs to prioritize the tabling and enacting of electoral reforms that are time-bound- those that require to be implemented now for thorough preparations of the 2019 elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :