Kasungu Centra MP (Malawi Congress Party) on Wednesday accused Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu of deliberately giving half answers to questions posed to him in Parliament on the status of tabling the the Electoral Reforms Bill.
Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa said on Monday that members Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs who was not in the House as he was attending a relative’s funeral would respond on when the bills will be tabled.
But when Tembenu spoke on the matter, he annoyed MPs as they did get nothing out of Minister’s statement.
“I believe that today is a government business day. Let us discuss the government business first and at the time of our own choosing we will communicate,” said Tembenu.
Nkhata , standing on a point of order, said there was no need for the Minister to “beat about the bush” on the matter.
“The Minister of Jutsice and Constitutional Affairs said clearly that the bills would be tabled in this meeting but now, all of a sudden, it seems the government is not willing to have them tabled. We are saying this is the time for the bills to be tabled but, if you see the business that is going to be transcated, you will find that the bills are not there.
“We afre representatives of our constituents and we are mandated to discuss any business on their behalf. The bills have to come so that we map the way forward,” said Nkhata.
Tembenu said Cabinet met and made its initial review of the proposed bills and that they would be tabled in the meeting currently underway in Lilongwe.
In his response to President Peter Mutharika’s opening address to the 47th session of Parliament, Leader of Opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera on Monday said the Electoral Reforms Bills represent the will of the people and that government’s commitment to table the same was non-negotiable.
He said: “Failing which, we will have no choice, but to boycott proceedings as the people we represent have directed us to.”
The opposition is apparently further incensed by the fact that the President made no mention of the bills in his address on Friday.
Among other things, the Electoral Reforms Bills proposes a 50+1 electoral system. Currently, Malawi uses the First-Past-the-Post system where whoever has the majority votes wins, even with below 50 percent of the vote .Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :