The Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) and the Anglican Diocese of Northern Region have joined the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) in urging its members to participate in the in the December 13 nationwide demonstrations to push government to table Electoral Reforms Bills, including the 50+1 provision organized by the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) .
MCC, the umbrella body for 25 major Protestant churches in the country, has issued a statmenet saying it remains committed to support the pursuance of the tabling, debating, and passing of the Electoral and Local Government Reforms – in particular the introduction of the 50%+1 electoral system, and the removal of Members of Parliament from voting in Councils.
And in the letter titled ‘We Demand for Transformative leadership; Now is a time to proclaim our destiny’ from the diocese’s bishop the Reverend Fanuel Magangani addressed to priests in-charge, guilds and all members reproduced the call by PAC to its members, urging them to congregate at four points in the country’s cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba.
Nyasa Times also understands that, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) in the Livingstonia Synod has already drafted its epistles to add its voice to PAC’s call.
Many Churches and the Muslims are expected to show their stand this week as only nine days have remained.
The call to take part in the marches has come at a time when there is waning commitment from the government to table the Electoral Reform Bills as earlier promised.
Governm has said it is set to table two of the six Bills the Malawi Law Commission recommended.
However, the Bill proposing an amendment of the electoral system, especially in the presidential race, to adopt 50+1 instead of the present first-past-the-post and three others are not among the two as Minister of Civic Education Grace Chiumia has said the Peter Mutharika administration is not interested wit them because they would be costly.
Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa said the two Bills to be put to the Business Committee by Tuesday are Electoral Commission and Referendum.
He said: “The government underestimated the amount of work that would go into making the Bills ready for Parliament. But two have now gone through the Cabinet plenary and will be taken to the Business Committee.”
Nankhumwa said a bill could not be tabled without following processes such as Cabinet committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs and then main Cabinet.
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 recommended the enactment of the Elections Management Fund to ensure Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is financially autonomous.
It also proposed 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.
The Assumption of the Office of President (Transitional Arrangement) proposes amendment to the Constitution to allow that swearing in of President and Vice-President be done after 30 days not within 30 days as prescribed in Section 81 (3) of the Constitution.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :