Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Grace Chiumia has bluntly said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government is not in support of the proposal of a 50+1 electoral system where the triumphant president contender is decided on the basis of getting a majority 50 percent plus one of the votes to win.
One of the electoral reforms the Malawi Law Commission proposed for parliamentary consideration is that the President must be elected by at least 50 percent plus one vote cast in a presidential election.
Currently, a presidential winner is declared when a candidate obtains more votes than his or her competitors. It is not necessary that he or she obtains more than 50 percent of the votes or more than two-thirds of the votes. It is therefore possible where a presidential contest is overcrowded by candidates that a President could be elected by as low as 20 percent of the votes cast as long as that percentage exceeds the respective shares other candidates have obtained.
Speaking at a DPP political rally held at Mpherembre in Mzimba West Constituency on Saturday, Chiumia said Malawi was not ready for the electoral reforms that support electing a President by majority, saying it will be waste of resources.
Chiumia described Public Affairs Committee (PAC) which s asked government to table the Electoral Reforms Bill as well as the Local Government Reforms Bills or face nationwide protests as “a bunch of confusionists.”
She said: “There is this clergy group called PAC which wants to confuse people on elections as they are advocating for the 50 percent plus one system in electing the President. We have seen how problematic this system has been in other countries because every time a candidate doesn’t get the required votes, then a rerun takes place, which is expensive.”
“Let me tell PAC [that it] is a group of confused religious leaders and they are going to town to confuse the nation on how elections are run in this country,” she added.
Chiumia said money meant for presidential reruns should be used for development agenda.
“I urge you people of Mzimba West, let us all reject this proposal. Join the President so that these people don’t confuse you. Reject this,” she said.
Chiumia continued: “As government, we don’t support this. We don’t want it.”
PAC chairperson Reverend Felix Chingota asked government to do the following; ensure that government tables Electoral Reforms Bill including during the current Parliamentary sitting, ensure that government tables Local Government Act reforms bill including the removal of Members of Parliament (MPs) voting powers at council level, ensure the reforms are tabled by 29thNovember this year failing which PAC will hold a peaceful march nationwide.
The group also want government to prioritise the reforms bill so that they are completed during the current sitting and ensure that they uphold the will of Malawians saying shifting them would be tantamount to suffocating constitutionalism and the collective will of Malawians who put leaders into their respective positions.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :