The Joint Civil Society Platform on Good Governance (JCSPGG) has thrown its weight behind President Peter Mutharika’s refusal t to assent the Electoral Law Bills, arguing the bills were politically motivated and in conflict with the constitutional provisions.
JCSPGG national director Fryson Chodzi says in a statement issued on Thursday that contrary assertions by some quarters, the President is within his constitutional mandate and is upholding the Constitution by not assenting to the bills.
“The law gives the President power to either assent or withhold his assent and what the President did is lawful. We further question the claims by some quarters that the President is in contempt of the courts by not assenting to the stated bills, when the law is very clear on the processes including Section 73 (2) which allows the President to return a bill with notification of reasons to the Speaker of National Assembly for further debate,” says Chodzi.
He adds that it is their considered opinion that the Constitutional Court direction to Parliament to enact necessary electoral laws did not necessarily mean that the lawful procedures in amending and enacting laws should be violated.
“We further note the intimidation and undue pressure, which has been exerted on Parliament, Judiciary and the Executive with great concern. This is a violation of the Constitution of Malawi. For the first time in Malawi, parliament has been held at political ransom which led to passing bills that were in conflict with the constitution of Malawi.
“Members of Parliament have been intimidated, insulted and forced to vote for a certain political agenda which is unfortunate. Sadly, we have allowed non – elected but self-appointed individuals and groups without any Constitutional mandate to dictate how MPs must work,” claims Chodzi in the statement.
He says the Platform is of the strong view of the need to amend the constitution electoral laws to ensure parity than what Malawi witnessed in the just ended parliament where shortcuts were adopted just to fulfil a political agenda.
“There is no justification of amending an Act of Parliament which is in direct conflict with the Constitution, and that defeats the entire spirit of both the Ruling of the ConCourt and framers of the Constitution,” he charges.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :