LILONGWE-(MaraviPost) -The country’s powerful religious grouping, the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), on Thursday engaged the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President Lazarus Chakwera on electoral law reforms, including the Local Government Act.
Through the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2015, PAC is championing in improvement of efficiency and effectiveness of local authorities, which will be aligned to the 1998 Decentralization Policy.
Among contentious issues in the 2010 Local Government Act (LGA) includes the voting powers Members of Parliament (MPs) have on local councils. These powers are seen as overriding actual powers in the decentralization process, and must be removed.
Most MPs including, cabinet ministers have been reluctant to accept these reforms, and is seen by analysts as fear of the unknown; but it highlights a power struggle between the local and national authorities .
The religious body has therefore stood its ground on the need for the law review that effective decentralization is manifested in the country.
After meeting with the MCP President, PAC Chairperson said the body would like to see the implementation of LGA reforms, which, among many recommendations, the removal of MP’s voting power at the Council level.
Reverend Chingota also added that the Malawi would like to see 50+1 implemented to make sure the country has a leader chosen by the majority of its citizens.
The PAC Chairpeson will work on spearheading reforms in the Chiefs’ Act as it is one of the major concerns expressed by Malawians.
Chingota therefore appreciated how candid the meeting was; he said the team left the Chakwera meeting happy, knowing that the MCP supports PAC’s concerns, and will champion them in Parliament.
Chakwera said the MCP fully supports the LGA because the Party’s goal is to see a functional local government that serves the people, even if that means MPs lose some of the privileges they have at council level.
Chakwera added that the MCP would like to see quarrels between MP’S, councilors, and the secretariat, end at council level because in such cases it is usually someone desires to take advantage of another person’s ignorance.
On the 50+1 clause in the proposed electoral law amendment, Chakwera said, the MCP has always said it is in favor of the 50+1, and that he has voiced this support many times in parliament.
He said the Party was therefore in agreement that the country has to be led by a leader who is voted by the majority.