Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has said they have picked the colour red to be used for the planned December 13 demonstrations to push for the tabling of the the Electoral Reforms Bills which include adoption of a 50-plus-one system of choosing the country’s President to enhance credibility.
However, he influential multi-faith quasi-religious human rights, democracy and accountability watchdog has disclosed that the protests will not only focus on Electoral Reforms but various issues bordering on transformative leadership.
Pac Executive Director, Robert Phiri, has said they will also present a petition to government expressing its position on the current state of affairs.
“The main message will still focus on reform. However, placards will reflect on various issues bordering on transformational leadership as a gap, given that commitments made by the country’s leadership will not have been met by December 13 2017,” Phiri said.
“We have identified the colour red as that to be worn on this particular day by the marchers,”
He said those who do not have red colours will still take part.
Over 60 civil society (CSOs) are said to back the protests and some citizens will march waving red cards — the football penalty symbol for expulsion to undemocratic tendencies.
PAC boss clearly stated that the protestors are not driven by political ends but “the common good.”
The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been spreading propaganda that the protests are influenced by the opposition for their own political gains.
But Phiri said: “No political party can influence PAC.”
Phiri indicated that the PAC board had agreed to proposals to have the marches held in all the country’s 28 districts. The body had initially announced that the marches would only take place in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba.
He also said the matter was not only about the electoral reforms, but the inclusion of 50 percent-plus-one as it was one of the benchmarks.
Said Phiri: “We are looking at reforms as a package.”
Government has since circulated three out of six bills for the electoral refoms. The three are Electoral Commission Act (Amendment) Bill , Assumption of the Office of President (Transitional Arrangement) and Referendum Bill.
The Law Commission recommended the following Bills collectively called Electoral Reforms Bills: Constitution (Amendment), Electoral Commission (Amendment), Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act (PPEA) and Local Government Elections Act, Assumption of the Office of President (Transitional Arrangement) and Referendum.
The most contentious of the Bills relate to the amendment of Section 80 (2) of the Constitution and Section 96 (5) of the PPE Act to provide for a change of the electoral system from a simple majority to a majority of more than 50 percent in the presidential race.
The Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill as proposed by the Special Law Commission recommends the enactment of the Elections Management Fund to ensure Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is financially autonomous.
It also proposes changes in the appointment of the MEC chairperson as well as composition of the commissioners.
The Referendum Bill, on the other hand, aims to introduce legislation on how to conduct a referendum as one does not exist currently.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :