Malawi opposition will introduce a Bill to discuss all electoral reforms during private members motion day on Thursday after government is reluctant to bring to parliament all relevant electoral reforms Bills.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the official opposition in Parliament, which threatened to call for ‘peaceful’ civil disobedience if government would not table electoral reforms bill has made a new strategic move to have one of its lawmakers table the motion on poll reforms.
According to a ‘Notice of motion’ from the National Assembly, MP for Lilongwe South, Peter Dimba (MCP) will move the motion.
The notice says: “That following a report on wide consultations conducted by the Electoral Commission with major electoral stakeholders on electoral reforms, a copy which was circulated in this House, and the nee to give effect to the proposed reforms in order to ensure a free and fair electoral process and further, having drawan lessons from the chaotic 2014 tripartite elections as affirmed by the Malawi Electoral Commission’s 2014 Electoral report as well as the Malawi Human Rights Commission 2014 report, the House resolves that Private Member’s Bill be introduced as son as posible to amend the relevant electoral laws such as the local goverment elections Act in order to give effect to the proposed electoral reforms.
MCP spokesperson Alekeni Menyani said his party wants the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to implement the proposal of moving MEC headquarters to Lilongwe and that announcements of results during a national election should be made at the constituency level.
In the electoral reform recommendations, stakeholders, among others, recommended the amendment of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act and the Local Government Elections Act to be integrated into a single Election Act.
The stakeholders also recommended financing of political campaigns be legislated to ensure transparency and accountability.
Further, the reforms propose a law to allow better management of the transition from polling day to the inauguration of the President and Vice-President to ensure sufficient time for a petition to be resolved prior to inauguration.
The stakeholders also called for amendment of Section 77 of the Constitution to establish the age of voter eligibility to be 18 years of age or older, on the day of the election and on polling as well as Section 67(1) of the Constitution for general elections to be conducted in September rather than May.
Other recommendations include empowering MEC to issue subsidiary legislation: in line with international best practice, the MEC should be empowered to issue Regulations on its key areas of competence and the election process under the Electoral Commission Act.
Recommendations were to establish a specific offence for vote buying (whether by handouts or other means) should be included in the election laws, as well as the Corrupt Practices Act to deter vote buying and staggered announcement of results as follows; seven days for the President, 14 days for National Assembly and 21 days for local councils.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :