Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says the change from the current first-past-the-post and adopts a 50 per cent plus one law to ensure that the winner of presidential elections enjoyed majority support needs massive political will if the legislation is to be changed ahead of the 2019 general election.
Chief elections officer for MEC, Willie Kalonga, told a high level national task force on electoral reform for the centre that the change would necessitate legislation change on election laws.
“This is a highly contested issue as some people want it, others don’t want it. It will take a political will to pass this law. It will be up to parliamentarians to pass this into law,” said Kalonga.
Kalonga’s response came after a heated debate on the issue with Mtambo of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) claiming the 50 plus one system would stop politicians from banking on tribal or regional votes but would crisscross the whole country instead canvassing for votes in their home base only.
Another rights activist Billy Mayaya claimed it was only Bakili Muluzi who had a 50 percent of the votes in 1994 at the dawn of multiparty but in the subsequent election years, the presidents have been winning a threshold of 30 percent making them literally tribal leaders.
Malawi’s interfaith organization, Public Affairs Committee (PAC) have recognised that 50 per cent plus one rule guarantees the leader acceptable, popular, majoritarian mandate.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Peter Mutharika was declared the winner of Malawi’s May 20, 2014 presidential election after defeating Joyce Banda.
Mutharika, the brother of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, took 36.4 percent of the votes cast, Lazarus Chakwera of MCP garnered 27.8 percent of the vote and Banda’s 20.2 percent
Mutharika got votes mainly from the Lomwe belt of southern Malawi while Chakwera polled more votes from the Chewa belt of central region.
MEC Commissioner Emmanuel Chimkwita said similar meetings would be held in Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu whose findings would be sent to Law Commission which will in turn form a special commission that will scrutinise the proposed laws before sending them to parliament.
The special law commission will also hold its meetings to solicit views from people on the proposed laws, Chimkwita Phiri said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :