A professor at Mzuzu University (Mzuni) Fred Msiska on Wednesday spoke in support of a federal system of government in Malawi during a public debate held at Grand Palace Hotel in Mzuzu which was broadcast live on Zodiak Broadcasting Service.
Prof Msiska, who is a director of open and distance learning at Mzuni, trashed anti-federalism campaigners who argue the system will divide the country, saying the notion is “utterly false.”
He said: “It is calculated falsehood in order to prevent people from understanding the system.”
Msiska said Malawi need federal system, saying the current unitary system “has failed Malawians” because of the “over-concentrated powers in the presidency” which he said has led to the abuse of power for the benefit of the few
The university professor said federalism will enhance devolution of powers and make it possible for greater public participation in political decision making.
“If powers are devolved at the regional level, it will be possible for development to take place more evenly throughout the country. Federal system will avail more resources to regions for development It will also be possible for the central government to be held accountable to regional governments,” said Msiska.
He said federalism will enable a favourable resource allocation formula to be negotiated by the regions unlike the current system when the central system dictates.
“Every Malawians should benefit the toil of their labour,” said Msiska attracting hand-clapping from the audience.
Msiska said federalism will also be a solution to ethnicity.
Prophet Chuma spoke against federalism being introduced in Malawi, arguing it is too complex a system for a small and poor country which has high illiteracy levels and whose political leadership is largely ignorant of its constitutional roles.
Chuma also accused some politicians pushing for federalism in a bid to get power in the regions after being frustrated by losing the general elections.
He said federalism will bring division as well as confusion in the country.
President Peter Mutharika – on record to have once touted for federalism – has since urged political and religious leaders to give dialogue and reconciliation a chance, instead of dividing the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :