The controversy over whether Malawi will have tripartite elections next seem to be settling after a Cabinet Committee in the country on Monday approved three bills aimed at harmonising the electoral law to see the process through.
The country’s Attorney General Anthony Kamanga said the three amendment bills are now ready for gazetting and will be tabled in the forthcoming meeting of Parliament which is to be opened Friday, May 17, 2013.
“We are printing the Gazettes now for the bills. This is a process and the only reason we did not Gazzette was that it is a procedure and gazetting is done until Cabinet formally approves. Our intention is to expedite the process,” said Kamanga.
The amendment bills are Local Government Elections, the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections and the Electoral Commission Amendment Bill.
While the Local Government Elections and the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Amendment Bills are dealing with the actual harmonisation of the electoral procedure the Electoral Commission Amendment Bill is dealing with the demarcation of wards in Kasungu and Luchenza municipalities and Mangochi Town council.
The Electoral Commission had to stop demarcation of wards in these areas after observing that the law restricted it from doing so.
The current law only has provision for a maximum number of wards in the cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba while all other areas the law provides for a maximum of two wards per constituency.
Several observers including the Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) have been expressing concerns with the delay in amending the electoral laws observing that the development indicated that the country was not ready to hold tripartite elections next year.
Parliamentarians across Malawi have pledged to support the Tripartite Bill.