Group village headman Walamba from the area of Paramount Chief Kyungu in Karonga district has challenged Parliament to bring back the recall provision law to empower the community to fire non performing parliamentarians to enhance development.
The village headman made the challenge during plenary session at a civic and voter awareness campaign meeting the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Commissioner Linda Kunje organised for traditional leaders at Mlare aimed at wooing voters through chiefs to vote in large numbers in the coming by-election slated for November 10 to reduce voter apathy and null and void votes.
Walamba noted that Parliamentarians during campaign promise the electorates the moon but once ushered into power, they vanish into thin air and become untouchable.
He said: “We are tired of being lied to by these politicians. Is it not possible for the electorates to be given the mandate through section 64 to fire Parliamentarians who fail to deliver their manifestos? Otherwise we are taken for a ride”.
In an interview, Walamba justified his question, saying it is high time Parliamentarians walked their manifesto talk, adding, “If the recall provision was effective, believe you me, our Parliamentarians would be nurturing developments and become accountable to constituents”.
But according to Parliamentary documents, the section was repealed on the understanding that the provision may encourage witch-hunting and lead to massive abuse by constituents
However, Kunje who chairs MEC’s administration and finance committee said the isse of recall provision is crosscutting, saying since it was repealed in 1995, it has never been brought back for debate and it will require the MEC Commissioners’ through electoral stakeholders to see if the current electoral reforms can accommodate it and revisit the Constitution to re-introduce the piece of legislature to enhance performance.
In a separate interview, a renowned Blantyre based political commentator Sherif Kayisi concurred with Walamba, saying democracy is the of government in which the supreme power is vesyed in the people to choose the governing legislature, therefore, it os also imperative to empower the electorates to remove non performing parliamentarians to enhance development.
He said: “I totally agree with that suggestion, electorates have to be given the democratic powers to recall Parliamentarians who fail to fulfill their campaign promises because elected leaders tend to serve their own personal egos instead of diligently serving the electorates who are rights holders.
However, the five contesting parliamentarians hold different views on the suggesting.
The independent candidate Shackie Florence Nthakomwa and the DPP candidate Ernest Mwalughali are in total agreement, saying the re-introdcurion of the recall provision will fire elected leaders to be on their toes and serve the community.
While both MCP’s Mwalwanda and UTM Party candidate Frank Mwenifumbo were in agreement, they expressed reservations on the issue.
Mwalwanda said much as he supports the recall provision, there is need to amend it in order to put key performance indicators as a measuring yard stick to avoid punishing innocent Parliamentarians.
While Mwenifumbo said the suggestion by the chief to bring back the piece of thelegislature is welcome but should be across the board and be extended to the president.
At the meeting, Kunje implored the traditional leaders to amplify the message to their subjects to enable them vote for their preferred candidate who will in turn bring them their developmental needs, saying it is everyone’s constitutional right to vote.
“After noting the international by-election voting pattern and Malawi in particular, we decided to engage the clergy and traditional leaders so that they use their influential voice to coax the people they serve in the community to patronise the forth coming by-election. Staying away from voting is detrimental as the decision may put a wrong person on the seat,” she said.
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