Malawi dialogue group wants bad laws repealed

Leaders of the dialogue group between the Malawian government and civil society have backed suggestions to repeal unpopular laws during the forthcoming session of Parliament.

There have been calls from opposition parties, media, civil society including a social justice and advocacy arm of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi –CCJP to repeal the bad laws enacted by the Bingu wa Mutharika regime.

But government chief whip Symon Vuwa Kaunda has cast doubt in repealing the laws during the forthcoming parliament, saying they need to follow “proper consultations and procedures.”

In a statement released Thursday, the dialogue group agreed that when parliament reconvenes on November 14 it should made moves to repeal the Injunctions Bill which prevents granting of an injunction against government or a public officer in the absence of state representation.

The group also wants Section 46 of the Penal Code which gives powers to a cabinet minister to ban publications judged not in public interest to be suspended.

Malango: Group backs suspension of dictatorship laws

They have also backed the repeal of Police Bill which is likely to fall to abuse particularly for allowing a police officer to search private property without court warrant.

in a statement signed by heads of negotiation Archbishop emeritus Bernard Malango and Voice Mhone representing the government and civil society respectively, the group recommends that the House should repeal these bad laws “irrespective of the issues that are currently before the courts.”

“It would be important that in the review process, the Ministry of Justice and the Law Commission play their due process role and that the possibility of public and stakeholder engagement is emphasized,” the group said.

Leaders of both sides sought to discuss some of Malawi’s most pressing issues, such as fuel and drug shortages, and general financial mismanagement.

On fuel shortage, the group recommended that stakeholders in the petroleum sector should immediately review levies, price formula, recapitalisation of price stabilisation fund and its future use.

The group also recommended for “exchange rate liberalisation” but said authorities should take measures in place that would protect “vulnerable groups from the shocks that devaluation may bring.”

In accordance with recommendations made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), President Bingu wa Mutharika allowed devaluing the kwacha by 10 per cent.

The President also dissolved his 42-member cabinet, which was seeing monthly expenditures in excess of US$98, 360 – enough to “fund [the] monthly salaries of 428 nurses or 1,000 primary school teachers” according to civil society’s position paper.

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