PAC ‘has just romanced the devil’, says Malawi flagship newspaper: Cancelled protests dominate headlines

The postponed nationwide demonstrations organised by Public Affairs Committee (PAC)  to  push for electoral reforms slated for December 13 following government’s turnaround to table bills in parliament took center stage in the local press on Wednesday with Malawi’s flagship daily newspaper saying the decision to call off protests has just made an oppressive President  Peter Mutharika’s regime “even stronger.”

PAC Chair Dr Felix Chingota reading a statement on demo postponement

Just a day before the nationwide protests against governments, PAC chairperson Felix Chingota told a news conference in Lilongwe that the decision to suspend was made at a three-hour meeting the faith-based organisation held in the capital on Monday night.

He said the board meeting focused on whether to proceed with the civil action after government circulated what is largely considered as an adulterated Electoral Reforms bill as Mutharika’s cabinet has decided to extend the contentious 50+1 provision—which proposes a run-off when the winning presidential candidate fails to scoop at least half of the votes cast—to members of Parliament (MPs) and councillorship elections.

In its editorial on Wednesday, the Daily Times newspaper,  said Malawians were willing to join in the “grand peaceful march” to express national discontentment as the protests would have an extension of issues to highlight including electricity crisis and an array of governance issues, including calls for an end to ruling party’s monopoly of the state-run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.

The paper saidthe faith-based organisation seem to have forgotten that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government  it is  putting faith in has “a way of being crooked” and has  no respects for pacts.

Evidence, the paper said, is the “butchered” piece of legislation on electoral system that government has circulated in Parliament.

The daily said PAC “must not be naive” to start believing  that the DPP is an honest party and wants to see the electoral reforms bills passed as recommended by the special Law Commission.

“PAC will realise soon that it has, advertently or not, been part of the scheme to kill Malawians’ dreams of having perfect electoral laws as well as a chance to epress their disillusionment,” reads the editorial.

It noted that  the quasi-religious oragnaisation has found “ a partner in the political devil.”

The paper says PAC need to have a serious “soul searching” before it slips  into oblivion, saying they are at pains to believe the discourse in some quarters that the governance watchdog is steadily losing credence and relevance.

The paper lead story headlined ‘ PAC faulted’ with sub titles: ‘Cancels demonstrations’ and ‘Govt complied –PAC’

But political scientist Ernest Thindwa based at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College in Zomba said the purpose of the protests was ro force government table the electoral reforms bills and now that the Bills are in Parliament, PAC is right to cancel the demonstrations.

“I want to believe the threat of demonstrations has compelled the government to table the bills,” Thindwa said.

During the news conference, Chingota who was accompanied  by PAC executive committee members and some board members, said the body will keep monitoring events in the National Assembly.

He said PAC may “reignite” the calls for demonstrations if government stops the tabling of the bills.

“Members took time to examine the above requests and noted that 5 out 6 bills have been debated this week. It was however observed that the government brought some new changes to the bills, especially on 50+1 which now extends to MPs and Councillors. We note this was not part of the Law Commission report.

“We further observe that the Local Government Act reforms have not reached Parliament. The latter for us still remains crucial to improvement of service delivery in the country. The approach taken by government to introduce changes to the bills that were not anticipated demonstrates bad intention on their part,” Chingota told journalists.

Several churches including the influential Catholic church, Anglican Church, CCAP, Malawi Council of Churches and civil society groups gave their full support to PAC protests.

The proposed laws drew the wrath of civil society players who feel the Executive deliberately veered off from the recommendations of the law commission to restrict the 50+1 clause to the presidential race only.

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LIPHAVA NAMANDWA NGONGOLIWA
Guest
LIPHAVA NAMANDWA NGONGOLIWA
We are in support of the postponement. We know that some of you just wanted to loot and raze down Lomwe properties including those vehicles with TO letters. Mwauponda. We can’t allow that. You may as well stop drinking tea from our bushes if that’s the kind of attitude you get everytime you feel aggrieved. That’s cowardice. Just come forward and we will exchange some blows. PAC has shown great wisdom in pausing the demos. We have met the key demands on the electoral reforms and parliament is looking into them. There is nothing we can do about the electricity… Read more »
santana
Guest
This reply is for Kaitano and Nistradamas, When we talk about elections we talk about the numbers who can make a particular candidate to triumph. If someone wakes up from his sleep and is questioned about who will get more presidential votes in LL district in 2019, obviously even you Kaitano will respond with the name ”Chakwera”. Why? Because this is what is seen and experienced at the ground. And this has been so in the past despite effort from other parties for a change. Kasakula and Kaitano need not to be told that Machinga, Mangochi, Balaka, Zomba have people… Read more »
Kaitano
Guest
Santana, there is one thing that you are missing. These reforms are not for any party, agree or not? This means, its not for M.C.P and or D.P.P agree? What Malawians want is to see the president being chosen by majority, is it wrong as well? When we send our Mps to this house, we ask them to do what we as people who voted for them to do, is it true? Is it wrong to say that the president we have to day, majority of Malawians are not happy with him? About 60% did not vote for him, is… Read more »
Nostradamas
Guest

Santana palibe chazeru amalemba kupatula kunyoza Chakwera ndi MCP. Ndiwe Mbuzi yomvetsa chisoni komano tikudziwa ndinu mukudya ndalama zamisonkho yanthu Mokuba ndiwe galu wachabechabe.

Tenzi Mzungu
Guest

Include in the bill term limit for MPs some have overstayed if president is limited in his tenure who is MP to enjoy limit less terms

Thitherward
Guest

If ’50+1′ is ‘too expensive’ for the presidential election, why is it not too expensive for the election of the president plus every single MP and councilor?

Atupele
Guest

Again if 50+1 is too expensive for Malawi, why is theft of public money cheap.

How come president Mutharika and his ministers find corruption sustainable if there’s no money for a 50+1.

Katerina
Guest

Its unfortunate that the UK government trained this myopic George Kasakula. He cant be honest and understand that PAC has just done the right decision. Why are you too emotional George? I look forward to the day when MCP shall win and we see what else you will write about MCP. YOu seem to be too holier and hell bent. Maybe you dont know the implications of what you advocate for. Akazako amapilira ndithu kusaganiza kumeneko. Learn from The Nation newspaper.

JOSEPH CHAGOMELANA
Guest

THEY HAVE BROUGHT THE BILL INTO PARLIAMENT & WITH THAT,PAC HAVE DECIDED TO COUNCAL THE PROTESTS BECAUSE THE PROTESTS WERE AIMED TO THOSE BILLS NDIYE INU MWAYAMBA KUNG’UNG’UDZA, MUKUNG’UNG’UDZA DZICHANI?NGATI MUNACHALILA KUBELA ANTHU PAZIWONETSELOZI NDIYE MWALEMBA MMADZI ACHULE INU. GWILANI NTCHITO KUTI MUPEZE ZOSOWA ZANU OSATI KUCHALILA KUWONONGA ZINTHU NDI MIYOYO YA ANTHU. KODI MUMASAMALA ZA KATUNDU NDI MIYOYO IMENE IMALUZIKA PA MA DEMO? CHONDE VALANI UMUNTHU.REMEMBER THAT,MALAWI IS THE WARM HEART OF AFRICA.

Atu-what?
Guest

PAC’s actions are dangerous. They made the vice president announce their about their demos. Suddenly they decide to cancel them. Who is in danger here? Is it not the vp?

Atu-what?
Guest

PAC is lead by lazy people!

Gucci Grace
Guest

I have now figured it out that when PAC members are broke this is how they raise money ! Their palms have been oiled. ………..they are all a bunch of crooks! PAC just like DPP you have betrayed/let down Malawians , you might as well disband.

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