The Public Affairs Committee (Pac) has called on opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to support the proposed Local Government Act (LGA) to achieve transformative leadership in the country.
Pac Chairperson Reverend Dr Felix Chingota made the call on Thursday when he held an interface meeting with MCP President Dr Lazarus Chakwera, who is also the Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
Pac is pushing for the implementation of LGA and Electoral reforms so that the issues of removal of MP voting powers at council level, recruitment of CEO by council; and majority(50%+1) are effectively dealt with based on the wishes of stakeholders as manifested in the consultation reports on these aspects.
“We would like to seek your support to the implementation of LGA and Electoral reforms, but in particular to ensure that the issue of removal of MPs voting powers at council level; the recruitment of Chief Executive Officers and District Commissioners by the council ; and 50%+1 respectively pass during the November 2017 sitting of parliament,” said Chingota.
He further told the gathering that LGA and electoral reforms were some of the 19 issues raised with the party prior to tripartite elections in 2014.
Chingota observed that there are many more recommendations and resolutions that remain critical in order to improve service delivery in the country.
“PAC Resolution Document contains various recommendations on reforms ranging from the need for improving local governance to constitutional changes. At the moment we would like to flag two aspects that have been emerging now and again even during the last 5+1 All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference. Local governance (Local Government Act) and electoral reforms have gained currency during various conversations among Malawians.
“To ignore them as we approach the 2019 elections is tantamount to a deliberate disregard of the wishes of Malawians. Our consultations on the question of federalism confirms the fact that Malawians want reforms to be implemented. It is our considered view that the failure to undertake these reforms will be a recipe for further calls for federalism – though we may not be ready for it.
“Further, we should learn some lessons from 2014 election stalemate and in particular the winning votes of Presidential Candidates. This remains a cause of concern to Malawians. To this end, reforms should be treated as part of conflict prevention as we come closer to 2019 elections. That we do not have time for reforms because 2019 is close is no defence at all,” asserted Chingota.
He therefore urged the MCP President to support the reforms, which he said, exert a huge bearing on the service delivery in the country and on the concretization of transformative leadership.
On his part, Chakwera, who was also reminded of some of the commitments he made prior to 2014 general elections, said MCP believes believes in decentralization and looks up to full implementation of this process in order to effect real development in this country.
On the electoral system, Pac is against “first past the post” with Chakwera saying the current system “greatly needs urgent attention”.