Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee says the idea to hold public hearing on federalism has stalled due to lack of financial resources thereby prompting legislator Yeremiah Chihana to ask for a national referendum for a federal government or the North to become a standalone country amid feelings that the region is being sidelined in terms of development and public appointments.
The committee chairperson Kezzie Msukwa said parliament’s secretariat is looking for funds for the public hearing.
The federalism public hearing was supposed to be heard in November last year.
“You see, this is a private member’s motion, this is why it is not easy to attract funding,” he said.
He asked organisations and other well wishers are welcome to fund the exercise.
Mover of the motion, Mzimba North legislator Yeremia Chihana (Alliance for Democracy-Aford) said it would be the waste of time to hold the public hearing on the matter.
He suggested that the government should just order a referendum to allow Malawians decide on whether to adopt federalism or not.
Chihana argues that in the interest of equitable distribution of resources and development in Malawi, and as a solution to the challenges brought about by quota system in the Education Sector, coupled with the elasticity of Malawi politics, and to ensure equal participation in political decisions, the country needs to change its system of government.
He said there is evidence that national resources are not distributed equally and the quota system has denied many deserving Malawians the right to higher education, hence the country needs to change its system of government.
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.
In his paper presented at the National Constitutional Review Conference in Lilongwe held from March 28 to 31 2006 titled Towards a More Manageable Constitution, he observed that Nigeria successfully resolved problems that were created by its three regions at independence in 1960 by establishing what are now 36 states and one federal territory.
However, in August 2014, three months after becoming President, Mutharika urged political and religious leaders against calls for federalism, arguing it would divide the country.