The Legal Affairs Parliamentary Committee said Tuesday there is general consensus among Malawians across the country that holding of tripartite elections should commence with the 2014 polls and not in 2019.
Parliament during the last budget sitting referred back to the Legal Affairs Committee the Constitutional Amendment Bill of 2012 which sought to amend section 147 of the Constitution in order to provide for holding of presidential and parliamentary elections concurrently with local government polls.
Following the sending back of the bill, the committee has since embarked on a mission aimed at soliciting views from the general public on whether parliament should go ahead with its plans to amend the said section.
The Committee’s Vice Chairperson, Alekeni Odala Menyani, told journalists in Kasungu after meeting the district’s Elections Liaison Committee on the matter that the general view currently is that parliament should harmonise the constitutional provisions to provide for tripartite elections effective 2014.
“In all the districts where we have been to the general consensus is that we should start holding tripartite elections in 2014,” disclosed Menyani.
He further explained that the amending of the constitution to provide for tripartite elections effectively means powers to decide on dates for local government polls will no longer rest in the office of the president but the constitution.
“It is the concern of the committee that powers to hold local government elections rest in one office. Our take is that [such] powers should rest in the constitution,”
Concerns and fears
Menyani, however, said there are concerns among Malawians that those elected do not know their roles a development that results in role conflicts especially between individuals elected as councillors and parliamentarians.
He said the problem can be corrected through training.
Meanwhile, Kasungu District Commissioner, Harrison Lende, said fears of voter apathy and increased number of null and void votes can only be avoided with more civic and voter education.
He said the country has enough capacity to hold credible tripartite elections in 2014.
Said Lende: “What we need as a nation is to ensure that voter and civic education should start as early as possible and should be localised too.”
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