Malawi Government has said that it will consider calling for a referendum to give a chance to Malawians to decide on the future of the country as a federal state.
The Government made the pronouncement following pressure from people of the northern part of the country who have been calling for a federal state or for the northern region to secede from the entire country and not to be part of the south and central regions.
In an interview Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa said Malawi Government intends to embark on a national wide civic education tour on the question of federalism, and secession.
He said if need be the exercise will end into an open referendum on the two matters.
Said Nankhumwa: “Government has no intention to stifle debate on either federalism or secession. We have noted that even those that are propagating for the system are falling short of understanding on how it works.
“So we will embark on a national wide civic education for Malawians to appreciate the pros and cons of the system, and if need be, government will call for a referendum on the matter.”
Following the debate, Malawi Government has been accused of moving to stifle debate on the matter.
Nankhumwa, however, said government cannot call for a referendum right away without proper sensitization of the masses saying that will be tantamount to subjecting Malawians into making a crucial decision on a matter they do not understand.
“The way the issue is being presented to Malawians at the moment, is as if it is for the northern region. Malawi is one, and all the regions will fully participate in every step of its deliberation. And it may happen that after this civic education exercise, Malawians may never want to further debate on this issue,” he said.
Malawi is having unprecedented campaign to adopt a federal system of government after most people from the north feel that they have been short changed in the way resources of the country are distributed among the three regions.
The calls are based on the premise that it is the only viable method of equitable access to the national resources.
Some sectors of the northern region are also demanding the de-linking of the region from the mother Malawi.
People from the northern part of the country have since formed a group calling itself ‘concerned citizens for the independence of the north’ which has embarked on a relentless campaign on the matter.
In Africa, federal system of government is practised in some countries including South Africa and Nigeria.
The term federalism is used to describe a system of government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units such as states or provinces, while secession refers to an act of an area or group becoming independent from the country or the larger group that it belongs to.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :