No need to change 50%+1 law for June 23 Malawi voting day – Opposition

The opposition lawmakers said they rejected a Constitutional Amendment Bill brought by government because there was no need to change the country’s supreme laws to hold the court-sanctioned fresh presidential elections on June 23 after the House had already passed resolutions on the said polling date.

Leader of opposition Lowe: Why duplicating issues?
MCP’s Chimwendo Banda: There is no need for confusion, June 23 is the voting day-

Leader of opposition in Parliament Lobin Lowe justified the snub of the bill, saying the opposition already table the motion after noting that the government side was not forthcoming on the election date, therefore no need to amend the Constitution.

“We have set the date and its June 23, done. No need to complicate things by changing Constitution. That can be done later to align the next election date,” he said.

“We have shot the Bill  considering that the one to assent to it is a conflicted member. The President is a candidate and we cannot assign important issues of Parliament to a member who is conflicted; that’s why we thought it wise that the motion that was passed yesterday should stand.

“And I would like to request MEC to gazette the date, the sooner the better because we have all agreed; it’s only maybe the route that was different but on date all of us are talking of 23rd June,” said  Lowe.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Ben Phiri insisted that the House ought to amend the Constitution to set the June 23 date for fresh polls, saying what happened on Tuesday (setting the date) amounts to “raping the procedure.”

But opposition stuck to their guns.

Dowa East member of Parliament (MP) Richard Chimwendo Banda (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) said the Bill tabled by Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Bright Msaka was tantamount to confusion because it had proposed that MPs decide between simple majority (first past the post) and the 50-percent-plus-one majority in determining the winner, a proposal which sharply contradicts the recent interpretation of majority by the Constitutional Court and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal.

“We will not allow to remove a statement in the Constitution and we are not buying the tactics government is doing. They clearly indicated in this Bill the possibility of removing 50-percent-plus-one which is already there in the Constitution.

“The changes the minister is making have just been brought now. We haven’t seen them. The rules of the House demand that any tangible amendment must be circulated within 24 hours.

“The Supreme Court already told us to set a date and we did that yesterday [Tuesday]. There is no need to amend the Constitution.”

Alliance for Democracy (Aford) member of parliament for Mzimba North, Yeremiah Chihana, who moved the motion on Tuesday and was adopted by the House to have fresh elections on June 23, said the Constitutional amendment  bill tabled  by Msaka “has no place in Malawi.”

He said: “The judgement of the Supreme Court was very clear that we are not going to amend the Constitution except the motion.”

A law professor Garton Kamchezera from Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), said that indeed the proposed constitutional amendment was not necessary after June 23 polling date resolution was adopted by the House.

He said the proposed amendment can come on the floor after the election be looked at “soberly.”

But Msaka said  it is government’s intention that the polls be held on June 23 but  in line with the Constitution so that they are credible, free and fair to avoid the 2019 scenario of court battles.

The High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court on February 3 nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election over irregularities, especially in the results management system and ordered a fresh election within 150 days which expires on July 3. The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal on May 8 upheld the nullification.

However, the fresh election faces several logistical challenges, including enabling laws and printing of ballot papers which is yet to be sanctioned.

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Mapopa
Mapopa
8 months ago

Ntchewe imwe

john phiri
john phiri
8 months ago

am foreseeing a seroiuos constitutional crisis in malawi. the properbility that a particular party will get 50+1 % might be an uphill task. in the advent of this what will happen nobody knows.not even the learned friends. my prayer is that one must get the 50 +1 % otherwise it will be messy for both parties

Dan
Dan
8 months ago
Reply to  john phiri

Yes just because other people especially DPP wanted it to be like that. MEC was procrastinating so that it comes to that end. God will guide thpough

Ida
Ida
8 months ago

Atambwali sametana

Jose
Jose
8 months ago

Evil people you want a bill for what go and discuss at your wicked dpp cocus.you do not represent malawians.You do not need a bill to have a fresh election or byelection.it is within 60 months.so why a bill.For whether 50 plus one or first past post (tribalism system we have been using which favours populous south).This question to remove majority in our constitution is through a referendum not you greedy mps from a certain region who vote for nonses No or yes following an idiot wishes.

Nyekhwezi
Nyekhwezi
8 months ago

Join the discussion…This isnyekhwe of all nyekhwezi.

mtete
mtete
8 months ago

In other words the proposed bill by Msaka had all hallmarks of a Hidden Agenda

Bauleni
8 months ago
Reply to  mtete

What hidden agenda? A bill is read and voted on by all parliament there are no secrets. The amendments guarantee that the wording is enshrined in the constitution. Therefore it is clear to everyone. This court quashed the previous supreme courts ruling, what’s to say a different team of Supreme Court judges In the future wouldn’t quash this ruling?lack of foresight

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
8 months ago

MCP/UTM will easily sail through pass the 51% anyway. Should be looking at anything from 58% and above. It will be so devastating for NTCHONA that even the courts won’t be able to save him.

John Kennedy
John Kennedy
8 months ago

What if the scenario changes and instead of having Mutharika, Chakwera and Kuwani. You have Chakwera, Chilima, Muluzi and Kuwani participating in the elections. In this case you wouldn’t absolutely predict who would get the required 50+1%. You would definately require a second round which is currently not provided for in the constitution. So you guys stop playing around and face the elephant in the room for once and all and sort this mess you digged yourself into. No-one is the above the other here. The analogy of a chicken and an egg viz-a-viz the judiciary and parliament. This has… Read more »

Tazi
Tazi
8 months ago
Reply to  John Kennedy

Mkhadeti walila chokweza. Do not think that you are clever, others are more clever and others are most cleviest.

Bauleni
8 months ago
Reply to  John Kennedy

True. Very good observation. The problem in Malawi is people are too emotional. Decisions are made without thinking about the future. Same as the courts ruling, lacked foresight. They failed to forecast all impending scenarios. The fresh elections will be messy without the constitution being clear about certain things

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
8 months ago

Koma aboma nde apanikizika. End of the road now, isn’t it? Koma agogo ali bwanji ku mphangako?

Mwinithako
Mwinithako
8 months ago

Opposition has been dallied by the Judges,now lets wait for the elections and thats when it will show that DPP is the super power in Politics.
Zeze Chilima aonanso kuti angogwira yabuli ya Namachende Chakwera.Hule bit mchila Jowisi ,nyini zokwefukakwefuka ndichimbolo chachitonga cha Richard Banda wathawanso DPP ikubwerera pachiwongolero kkk.
MCP chipani chamagazi chikuchepera kaba kkk.Peter pachiwongolero basi osati anamachende ndia china namanyiniwoo!!

True Malawian
True Malawian
8 months ago
Reply to  Mwinithako

You are dreaming, yes superpower in terms of tribalism, nepotism etc and nothing else

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