Legislators for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have expressed fear that will not be comfortable with presence of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) in the wake of a planned vigil at parliament building in Lilongwe to force the legislators pass the Constitutional Court ordered electoral reforms laws.
HRDC claims some members of parliament have received money from the DPP to frustrate the passing of the Electoral Reforms Bills, including the 50-plus-one provision in choosing the country’s President, into law.
Minister of Local Government Ben Phiri could not answer questions from the legislators , saying the House was in turmoil. He said there was need for a “word of comfort” from the Speaker.
After Speaker had put the Minister on spot on the law that he was duty bound to answer questions, Phiri oblidged but the House erupted into cacophony of noise from DPP lawmakers to frustrate the proceedings.
Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara assured that her office will provide security to parliamentarians.
The coalition plans a vigil at Parliament from Wednesday until legislators pass the Electoral Reforms Bill.
However, government through Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi said it will not provide security to Parliamentarians.
Among others, the February 3 2020 Constitutional Court ruling says the Republican Constitution provides for the 50+1 election system and ordered parliament to pass relevant laws.
The five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court tasked Parliament to facilitate the review of the laws. The House tasked its Legal Affairs Committee and the Public Appointments Committee on some assignments.
Parliament hired retired Justice of Appeal judge Elton Mawina Singini and lawyers Allan Chinula and Arthur Nanthuru to draft the electoral bills with funding from USAID.
The Constitutional Court tasked Parliament to take appropriate legislative measures to ensure that:
- The significance of the certainty which is brought by the fixing of the date of the general election under Section 67 (1) of the Constitution is preserved; and
- Whoever is elected President of the Republic during the fresh election is allowed to serve the constitutionally prescribed five-year term.
- The Public Appointments Committee of the National Assembly should, in terms of Section 75 (4) of the Constitution, inquire into the capacity and competence of the Electoral Commission’s current commissioners, to oversee the conduct of the fresh elections;
- Parliament should take necessary amendment action in respect of Section 75 (1) of the Constitution so that the appointing authority of the chairperson of the Electoral Commission is clearly provided for; and that;
- • Parliament must, within 21 days from the date of the ruling, make appropriate provisions for the holding of the presidential run-off in the event that no single candidate secures the constitutional majority under Section 80 (2) of the Constitution as interpreted by the court.