Malawi CSOs hail MPs for passing Tripartite Bill

Civil right groups in Malawi are commending parliamentarians for voting a bill which if assented to by the Head of State will enable Malawi hold tripartite elections in 2014.

The parliamentarians voted the long awaited tripartite bill on Wednesday during their sitting in the capital Lilongwe. It will enable Malawians vote for the President, members of parliament and local councilors at the same time.

Executive Director of Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN)  Steve Duwa has described the move as a step in the right direction. He says now all eyes are on President Joyce Banda as to how soon she would assent to bill.

“It is our hope that the president will be fast in making the bill become a law.  This is the move we as civil right organizations have been pushing for so long. And we are happy the battle is won. More thanks to our members of parliament for understanding the importance of the bill,” he says.

Duwa: Parliament did well

Duwa says it would be appropriate if preparations for the tripartite elections start early next year so that  they should have enough time to sensitive people on voting processes.

Concurring with Duwa, Executive Director for National Elections Systems Trust ,Unandi Banda says the passing of the tripartite bill is a welcome development.

“As a country we have had no local structure that would govern the development at local levels in all district councils and city councils. By passing this bill it will enable the Malawi Electoral Commission and all its stakeholders to now fully prepare for the tripartite elections because we have got a legal framework in place”.

Banda also hails all the parliamentarians “for both the opposition and government side for listening to the wishes of Malawians”.

He says as CSOs they are very much prepared to take the messages to the rural masses to sensitize them on  the voting procedure.

“We feel the process will begin as soon as possible because now we have to put the resources together but it will all depend on how soon will the Malawi Electoral Commissioner release the calendar of events,” Banda says

Malawi has been without local councilors for the past seven years largely because of lack of political will to hold such elections.

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