Malawians have taken up in various social media platforms to debate the idea of federal system of government, with some arguing this is not a solution to the current political and social ill including regionalism and tribalism.
Mzimba North legislator Yeremiah Chihana (Alliance for Democracy-Aford) said he wants tomove a motion proposing the introduction of a federal system of government in the country d in the National Assembly and that he will include the abolition of controversial quota system for selecting students into public institutions of higher learning..
Lawyer Yasin Maone says no one has yet outlined how it is going to work, the cost and technical aspects and how it will be a solution to the problems cited.
“You cite quota system as one of the problems to be resolved by federalism. How does one relate to the other in this case? How is federalism a solution to quota system?” asks Maone.
Trained journalists Horace Nyaka also comments on Facebook that on quota system, how will it work since northerners will go to the northern schools, southerners will go to schools in the south and central region people will go to their schools in their region.
Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara has confirmed that a motion proposing the introduction of a federal system of government in the country could be tabled in the National Assembly..
In the notice, Chihana says the federal system of government is in the interest of equitable distribution of resources and developments in Malawi and as a solution to the challenges brought about by the quota system in the education system.
He also says that federalism is needed because of what he calls elasticity of Malawi politics and in order to ensure equal participation in political decisions which affect all regions in Malawi.
“…this House is satisfied that Malawi has now matured to change the system of government, and to that end, this House resolves that all efforts and legal framework should be put in place towards adoption of a federal system of government within a specified time period and in any case before the next scheduled elections in 2004,” reads the notice in part.
One of the marverick commentators Canada-based Tom Likambale, argues that there is misconception in what federalism is.
He says the examples given of the United States or Canada are misplaced.
“These places did not ‘federalize’ from unitary states. Their units were British colonies each in its own right, who decided to band together in a federation of states (US) or provinces (Canada) to pull together their strength into one federal inion while respecting their regional uniqueness, characteristics and strengths,” says Likambale.
He says the equivalent would be if Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe decided to form a federal union.
Likambale says Malawi is such too small to be splint into smaller ‘balkan’ units, saying this would be practically national suicide.
Previously, Rumphi East legislator Kamlepo Kalua also moved the motion last year, but it was only supported by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) which has been out of the government since May 1994.
But Chihana said he feels his motion will be supported this time around because there is evidence that the national resources are not distributed equally and that the quota system has denied many deserving Malawians their right to higher education.
In 2006, President Peter Mutharika, then a professor of international law at Washington University School of Law in the United States of America, proposed federalism as a solution to address the issue of national unity.
He expressed his sentiments in his remarks at the National Constitutional Review Conference in Lilongwe held from March 28 to 31 2006 in a paper titled Towards a More Manageable Constitution.
In making his case on the federal system, Mutharika, in his paper, observed that Nigeria successfully resolved the problems that were created by the existence of its three regions at the time of independence in 1960 into what are now 36 States and establishing one federal territory.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :