Malawi daily Nation newspaper backs Parliament extension for electoral reforms

A daily influential newspaper in Malawi, The Nation has come out in favour of an extension of the current meeting of the National Assembly to allow more time for debate and processing of the Electoral Reforms Bills, saying the decision-makers should “expedite” the process.

MPs Kalindo and Gwengwe: For MPs to meet just for a week they spend at least K200 million

Initially, the ongoing first meeting of the 47th Session of Parliament was set to end on December 15 this year.

In an editorial on Friday, the paper said the justification for the request to extend the meeting would give the House ample time to scrutinise and debate the much talked about Electoral Reforms Bill some of whose provisions, notably the 50-plus-one system of electing the country’s President, have stirred tension and a heated debate.

“We are in support of the proposed extension in as long as it allows for the processing of the critical pieces of legislation,” the paper said.

It urged those entrusted with making the final decision on the extension to expedite the process “for ease of planning.”

The paper said it is “critical” that where necessary, the most cost-effective way of funding the extension of the meeting be devised.

Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is also Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said he needed more time to consult, saying the extension will depend on resources as MPs to meet just for a week they spend at least K200 million.

In a Report on the Review of the Electoral Laws to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in March this year, the Malawi 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.

Government has come under pressure from opposition and civil society organisations (CSOs) to table the bills as promised by Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu in June.

Public Affairs Committee (PAC), a quasi-religious organisation, has since organised nationwide protest marches to push for the enactment of the proposed laws in the current meeting of Parliament. The demonstrations are set for December 13.

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7 Comments on "Malawi daily Nation newspaper backs Parliament extension for electoral reforms"

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LIPHAVA NAMANDWA NGONGOLIWA
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LIPHAVA NAMANDWA NGONGOLIWA
We in the DPP are not pleased with these bills. Honestry. Our theoretical counts show that we need to steal or cheat as we normally do with the recent elections. Guys there is a limit to cheating. For us to transpose chewa votes at that grand scale onto our Pitala would be very taxing. The stupid first past the post is very easy for us because our boys would just give poor Lazarus the fewer votes per station after knocking off the last digit. But for us to be knocking off two digits in Central and Northern regions iiii we… Read more »
Kaloswe
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All ths is because of Muthalika’s stupidity

haward.maloni@yahoo.com
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Apa sinkhani ya ndalama Mr Nankhumwa koma kupita chitsogolo ma bills abwere basi. Ndalama mmene mmawonongera inuyo ndiye mukadandaule ndizofuna za dziko lonse komanso amene mwapangitsa si inu nomwé kuti muzikambirana zopanda mutu kusiya zofuna za mtundu wonse wa a Malawi. Palibe kothawira apa ndipo mumva kuwawa

Gogodasi
Guest

Nankhumwa , money should not be an excuse for running always from the truth. Malawians adopted democracy and which comes with a high prices like expenses. Don’t fool us, the government has the money (that you have been stealing). Let MRA make money to fund this extension of Parliament- stay there, deliberate the bills in totality and finally pass them.

M\'Malawi Weniweni
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There is no need to amend the constitution 80(2). It already says president will be elected by MAJORITY of electorate. It is clear to me that if you have an electorate of 100 voters, majority is 50%+1 of them (or 51).
If the PPE act says anything different, it is incompatible with the constitution and such clause(s) of the PPE are invalid

Citizen
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Good point M’Malawi Weniweni. Actually in the recent past elections the Electoral Commission has been violating the Constitution where a presidential candidate was declared winner or elected by a minority below 50% of votes. Section 80 (2) clearly stipulates that The President shall be elected by a majority of the electorate through direct, universal and equal suffrage. In my opinion majority means not less than 50% votes. However this time around the amendment of the Constitution should provide for the definition of ‘majority of electorate’ being 50 + 1.

Munthu Wankulu
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Much as I am in support of the proposed bill I wish to urge our MPs to discuss this with sober hearts. I rest my case!

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