Mzimba North Constituency legislator Agnes Nyalonje (People’s Party-PP) on Thursday spoke vigorously in Parliament to back calls for federalism system as opposition lawmakers expressed feelings that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government values the development of some districts and regions more than others.
Rumphi East MP, Kamlepo Kalua moved a motion on the Matter of Urgent Public Importance under Standing Order 14 for the house to discuss a matter of federal system of government.
And in her contribution, Nyalonje one of the few constistent legislators who displays her wits in her parliamentary contributions of susbstance, observed that regionalism, nepotism and tribalism are “common human failings” not just to Malawi but to many countries in the world and these have led to wars in such countries.
“The absence of war in Malawi does not mean that we the people are at peace with one another. This very discussion this afternnon is testament that we are not at peace with one another. As a result of this discussion, some feel threatened and some hopeful.”
Nyalonje said federal system has more potential to unite us as Malawians.
“Those countries that have effectively adopted a system of federal government can testify to the fact that it has more potential in addressing division between people, division that come as a result of tribalism, division that come as result of regionalism and nepotism,” she said.
Nyalonje said Malawi has, through decentralization, already adopted a system closer to federalism hence the need to make the system formal.
“If I go to Mzimba today it is not a setret that many people feel that the government does not listen to them,” she said.
Nyalonje said in that situation what people want is a “government that is closer to them” and federalism “tends to be closer to the people.”
She, however, said the country has not fully decentralised as the government has not achieved the minimum five percent of the national resources to local government.
Nyalonje said decentralisation is a step closer to federalism and that the country should get federal system in full circle.
“What we need to do is to look at why are we failing to go all the way and what are the benefits of going all the way.
“We cannot afford to ignore the voices that say they want equitable development,” said Nyalonje.
But Machinga North East MP who is also Minister of Health, Atupele Muluzi said government is ensuring that Malawians across the country are offered the necessary and required resources.
Muluzi said there is a shift in decision making from central government to the local councils citing the issue of district hospitals which are at the moment being managed by district councils.
However, he said the challenge is on accountability of the councils.
“We are moving towards having resources fully decentralized. It is for this reason that we demand accountability of the local councils in the management of the resources,” he said.
In the motion, Kalua advocated for a federal system to ensure equity in all areas across the country.
“In a federal system resources can be channeled in a proper way and can benefit all the people regardless of their tribe or region. For example, if there is a federal system in place, resources in the national budget will be shared equally and Malawi will develop,” he said.
He said the house needed to discuss the motion for the sake of the future generation as he observed that the current system leaves some discriminated because they belong to a certain tribe saying there is too much nepotism and regionalism which leaves certain areas underdeveloped or not developed at all.
Dowa East MP, Richard Chimwendo Banda (Malawi Congress Party -MCP) supported the motion saying the call for a federal system of government comes because of discrimination that is there in distribution of resources.
“Malawi should have the spirit of equal distribution of resources. If there was that equity there wouldn’t be call for federation,” he observed.
He said most constituencies have something to point at because of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Chimwendo said communities cry for basic things like potable water because they do not have access to the same while others have three boreholes in a single village which would be avoided in a federal system.
Other Mps who supported the motion were Dedza East MP Juliana Lunguzi (MCP) and Karonga Central MP Frank Mwenifumbo (Aford).
Debate on the need for Malawi to adopt a federal system of government was revived after the May 20 Tripartite Elections whose voting pattern showed that people still vote for leaders, notably the President, based on tribal or ethnic considerations.
Some people have argued that for even or fair spread of development, the country needed to have federal States to facilitate the same.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :