Mzimba South West legislator Khumbo Kachali, who is also a former State vice-president, has said people have lost trust with the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) after the cancelled streets protests for electoral reforms laws which raised suspicions that the organisation was silenced with money.
He said this when Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament met representatives of the quasi-religious governance watchdog at Parliament Building in Lilongwe as part of its consultations on the Electoral Commission Act (Amendment) Bill which Parliament referred to the committee last December.
Kachali said the cancellation of the demonstrations at the eleventh hour on December 13 2017 which was organised to push for the tabling of Electoral Reforms Bills, including one proposing 50-plus-one majority in electing the country’s President, damaged the credibility of the organisation.
“Any decision taken at midnight is not a good decision, We thought that you were given money at the last minute and that money was not in Kwacha, but in Dollars in order for you to be silent,” said Kachali.
PAC has said it will meet to strategise when to hold the protests this year.
But Kachali urged such a move, saying it will be “waste of time.”
He said: “People have lost trust. Rather concentrate on how best we can help Malawians for peaceful tripartite elections.”
Kachali also asked PAC to fight for the independence of taxpayer funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) to offer objective and balanced reporting.
MBC, according to Kachali, has turned to be a party broadcasting house for the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which he said is “worrisome as it brings conflict.”
Kachali said PAC can hold street protests on MBC bias and assured the organisation that he would personally join.
PAC vice-chairperson Osman Karim denied that the grouping was corrupted, saying if they received the money they could have declared it and given the same to charity.
Legal Affairs Committee has been meeting stakeholders at Parliament Building in Lilongwe as part of its consultations on the Electoral Commission Act (Amendment) Bill.
The House debated Bill number 23 of 2017, the Electoral Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, before referring it to the Legal Affairs Committee for scrutiny.
Among other things, Clause 3 of the Bill presented in Parliament dealt away with the consultation of political parties represented in the National Assembly in the appointments of the commissioners.
The Electoral Commission Act (Amendment) Bill was the only survivor from a set of Electoral Reforms Bills Parliament rejected in December amid tension between government and the Public Affairs Committee (PAC).
The others were Amendment of Section 80 (2) of the Constitution and Section 96(5) of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act (PPEA) proposing 50-plus-one majority in presidential election; Consolidation of PPE Act and Local Government Elections Act; Amendment of Section 81 (3) of the Constitution for swearing-in of President and Vice-President to be done after 30 days.
There was also the Assumption of Office of President Bill to provide for the establishment of a transition team before a President assumes office and; Amendment to Section 62 of the Constitution where each district would provide a single constituency in which only women would contest as candidates for member of Parliament.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :