PAC calls to limit Malawi presidential powers:MPs should not double as ministers

The Public Affairs Committee (PAC), a grouping of religious leaders inMalawi, has resolved to lobby for the limitation of presidential powers as well as formation of a group of eminent Malawians to help the president in running the economy of the country.

PAC came up with the resolutions at  a second all-inclusive stakeholders’ Conference in Blantyre, a follow up to the meeting the organisation held in April this year that demanded the resignation of the then President Bingu wa Mutharika.

In a communiqué released at the end of the two day meeting, the organization observed that despite the change of leadership politically the challenges facing Malawi in the restoration of the democratic and economic governance are quite colossal to be left to just one sector [politicians] of the Malawian society.

The communiqué that was signed by the chairperson of the meeting Blantyre Catholic Archdiocese Auxilliary Bishop Montfort Stima reads in part: “Restrict the power of the President to prorogue Parliament.”

Chairperson of the meeting Blantyre Catholic Archdiocese Auxilliary Bishop Montfort Stima

“End doubling up of Members of Parliament as Ministers since it creates a serious conflict of interest in the manner that such ministers discharge their duties and collective and concerted efforts are needed to ensure that Malawi moves out of the current quagmire.”

Other topics which were discussed include ‘Constitutionalism Beyond 2012’ by University of Malawi’s associate professor of law Edge Kanyongolo  of Chancellor College and ‘The Impact of Devaluation’ by Professor Matthews Chikaonda, group chief executive officer of Press Corporation Limited (PCL).

The controversial Section 65 of the Constitution that restricts crossing of the floor in Parliament among MPs was also discussed.

Dr. Blessings Chinsinga, an associate professor of political science at Chancellor College, said in his presentation titled ‘Political Assessment from the Smooth Transition’ that Malawi is suffering from severe lack of transformation.

He however said the Joyce Banda’s administration has shown a culture of political tolerance and substantial good work for the past six months.

“This new Administration has made positive strides. Just Six months she has managed to bring back the soured Diplomatic relations with other countries.”

He said since Joyce Banda assumed office in April, 2012, Malawi has taken a step further by among others solving the problem of forex, fuel and donor confidence.

“The problem with this country is that there is serious demand and supply of leadership that is why political parties fail to tolerate and appreciate good work,” observed Chinsinga.

He also commended Banda’s Cabinet saying there is fairly appointment of Ministerial positions as every political party is represented in the cabinet.

Conference resolutions will be passed to the PP administration for action.

Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara said the PP government is ready to respond to issues raised at the conference.

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