Exodus: Malawi opposition MPs walk out of Parliament over Electoral Reforms Bill

Opposition Parliamentarians led by  leader of opposition in the national assembly Dr. Lazarus Chakwera Monday afternoon walked out the august House in protest over the missing of electoral reforms bill on the agenda; other opposition members followed him.

Leader of opposiiton Lazarous Chakwera led the walk out

In his reaction Speaker  Richard Msowoya said IT was their right in a democracy.

However, deliberations continued with MPs among other discussed on the blood sucking rumors that rocked the country.

Government said has not presented the electoral reforms Bill to Parliament because Cabinet is still “scrutinising” the pieces of legislation.

Meanwhile pressure continues to mount on the government to introduce an electoral reform bill for debate in parliament which is currently meeting in the capital, Lilongwe.

The missing of the bill is now contentious issue in Malawi as the quasi-religious body Public Affairs Committee has organized a country wide protests against the failure of government to bring the bill before parliament.

The bill proposes several changes to the current law as the country prepares to hold elections in 2019.

Among the recommendations, the bill proposes the 50+1 system which requires a candidate to gain more than half of the vote. The system includes run-offs if none of the candidates gets more than 50%.

Analysts say some of Presidents in Malawi have in the past elected with fewer than half of the votes cast.

Political scientist Vincent Kondowe told media recently the new bill is in line with the principle of majority rule.

“In this case we have a presidency which was obtained through a minority vote where 64 percent of the population did not vote for him for example, Peter Mutharika in 2014 [elections]. So, may be to avoid such a scenario, it is very important that by 2019, we should have these electoral reforms in place.”

The bill also seeks to delay the swearing in of the winning presidential candidate and his vice president after 30 days. under the current law, the winning presidential candidate can be sworn before 30 days

The debate on the proposed legislation was delayed in May. This, after Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu told parliament that he received the recommendations from the Malawi Law Commission, late.

The minister promised to table the bill in November. However, the legislation was missing from the published agenda for the current session of parliament.

The opposition has earlier threatened to boycott the proceedings should the government fail to introduce the bill for debate.

“They deliberately said November will be the time, after having failed in the past. If we don’t do it now, it never gonna happen. That’s why we have to do it now. And they must bring those reforms now,” said Chakwera

Justice Minister Tembenu told parliament that the bill will be introduced once it is published in the gazette in accordance with the laws. He did not mention the exact date.

The Malawi Electoral Commission said that it will not be able to use the reforms during the 2019 elections if the bill is passed late.

Meanwhile the country’s biggest quasi-religious group, Public Affairs Committee, says it will hold demonstrations across the country on December 13 to protest the government failure to take the bills in parliament.

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25 Comments on "Exodus: Malawi opposition MPs walk out of Parliament over Electoral Reforms Bill"

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Blessings Mgolomba Kamanga
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Blessings Mgolomba Kamanga
A big up to Dr Lazarus Chakwera and the opposition bench MPs for staging a boycott. The current trend among our leaders to not fulfil their campaign promises must stop. The Electoral Reforms Bill is a must have for the current democratic atmosphere of our nation. The 50+1 has far more democratic advantages than the current first-past-the-post electoral system. Malawi has more to gain by enacting this electoral bill. The government is trying to play a delay tactic which is quite unfortunate. I guess their main fear is that the bill could be their own undoing. Their self interest has… Read more »
mjomba
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I think guys the whole oposition muli zitsiru, anthu akufa kunja kuno kamba ka magetsi, zakudya zikusowa mzipatala, makhwala akusowa mzipatala, zinthu zakwera mtengo anthu kumudzi akuvutika ngakahal mtown muno, momwe anthu amadya kamodzi mzipatala muja palibe yemwe anatuluka mu parliament building ndikunenena kuti akukathandiza anthu omwe akuvutika mzipatala komanso. anthu inu ndithu nonse muli ndimagazi mmanja chauta adzakulangani sure, bill mwatulukilayo omwe adzakwanilitse ndi anthu omwe mukakhala kumeneko simuwaganizira or pang`ono kumangoti boma likulephera yet u are doing nothing to them when it comes time yoti nanunso muwathandize. Tivotera DPP yomweyi even mutaika 70+1 bingu anawina 66% koma kuli… Read more »
Hatton1
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mjomba ndiwedi mwana sasamba eti, follow the reason y did won with majority that time and u will understand it better…. Bingu delivered in his first term not this our president, He is nothing like his Brother Bingu

ngozo
Guest

iwenso ndichitsilu sukuona kuti tikuvutika coz anthu amenewa analowamwakuba alibe nzelu zothetsela mavuto bulutu iwe eti

Douglas Ndindi
Guest

We need this bill YESTERDAY! Without this bill, the nation is lost. For how long are you people going to avoid the inevitable? Koma mukamachita zanuzo mumakumbukira kuti tinachita kukusankhani? Kodi dzikoli ndi lanu kapena la tonse a Malawi? We want people to occupy positions after being voted for by the majority. If it is possible to get minority vote and still govern, then what is the use of going to the polls?

dinky
Guest

NKHUKU NDI IWEYO HATTON MWANA WOSAKHWIMA PA MCHOMBO NDI ABALE AKOWO A DPP MUKUTHAWA BILL YO BWANJI?

Hatton
Guest
No one is against the bill. Perfecting a bill is not the same as fearing it. Mwamva nkhuku inu mukuthawa zokambilana mnyumba ya malamulo motsogozedwa ndi Tiatambala tokuda. If the 50+1 requirement does not include MPs and councillors, then forget it. Is there a provision for possible coalition government so as to have a combined majority and a regulation governing such a coalition government. Let us avoid a repeat of what happened in 1994 where a constitution was tailor made to suit Chihana with too much presidential power or to suit the then overaged Kamuzu by having no age limit… Read more »
How I wish
Guest

Bill yimeneyi yinayamba kukambidwa kalekale.. koma chifukwa siiyokomela DPP chifukwa mukuyisala… But It will happen that if you dont table it now.. We voters will do our part come 2019… MARK MY WORD

Kaitano
Guest

Akuthamangisani ku D.P.P zimene mwayambazo akulu!! ndukunverani chisoni, chifukwa a Grace anena kuti D.P.P is not willing to table this bill, So are you against her?
If i were you which i can not, i would just be closing my ears and eyes because this thing is going to happen, if not. we are going to be on the road claiming our freedom.

Hatton1
Guest

lol hahahahahahahaha i like you argument though u refuse to admit the truth that our president is a failure, chakwera is walking the talk, he said he will lead a boycot and he did while others said they will table the bill which they did not… tell them to be men of their words. Stop hating and be a Malawian who wants nothing but a good future for his country.

Shaaaaaaaa
Guest

DPP does not believe in continuous improvement of govt policies… This bill need to be polished period… its long overdue…. Malawi need to Stand and Rise… for its better future…. This bill will ensure future Govts to distribute developments evenly accross the country to wooe Majority if they are to remain in power. Its a bill for Better Malawi… si zapanozi zopanga zitukuko zeni zeni kudera lochepa chifukwa kuli anthu ambira.. kwina kungopangako zitukuko za mijala ya madziko. Anyone who want a better Malawi will support this..

Lackwell
Guest
Vincent Khondowe and your friends, when you say 64% did not vote for him, does that imply 64% of the total population or voters? Im not sure if the outcome of that election could be a representative of the majority of Malawians considering that less than half registered and not all voted. Your argument so far is simply a mathematical model that does not reflect the practical trends so far maybe for the future. (Except 1994 and maybe 2009). However, my beloved DPP, lets face facts and the reality, Mwana akalilira nyanga ya nsatsi mlekeleni. Whether good or bad zizaoneka.… Read more »
Bauleni
Guest
Be clever Malawians. All the donors who have talked about elections reform, have decided not to give an opinion on 50+1 why? They know that it is costly. Malawi fail to administer simple majority elections without accumulating debts. Will this time with reruns be in apposition to make it. Three weeks ago the donors who support us on elections agitated for reduction in the elections budget. Some people are fooled that by passing the bill into law, then MCP will have a chance to win but its not true. If DPP, MCP, UDF, PP and AFORD contest in elections and… Read more »
How I wish
Guest
This bill is a necessity.. it will push any Party that will be in power on its toes to satisfy Majority for it to remain in power.. To me the the bill is a strategy that will ensure Govt perform above par. But the delay is deliberate coz DPP has not performed well this time, hence it is afraid of its consequences ….. But let me warn DPP… if they do not pass this bill… 2019 will be a disaster to them,, Now I see that DPP has no heart for future Generation.. coz of Selfishness. The future of this… Read more »
Peter
Guest

Let PAC go and demonstrate it’s their right. In 1992 we had PAC which was not militant like the present one. For a win-win situation, the best what PAC could have done if it feels that the government is dilly dalying to bring the bill for discussion could have been asking the government to call for a referendum. If people vote for the bill then PAC would have been vindicated. But what PAC is doing is to bring chaos in the beautiful country

jku
Guest

Lets try federal system of government

Chakhurunkwenda
Guest

In actual fact both the Catholic and the CCAP are already practicing the Federal System.

Chim
Guest

What are they afraid off?

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