Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Grace Chiumia has disclosed that some members of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have planned to end her political career following her sentiments against the electoral reform bills.
Chiumia said this over the weekend adding that there are deep divisions within the governing DPP and that she is one of the targeted politicians to be pulled down.
According to her, all is not well in the ruling DPP especially at this time when the party is nearly to hold a national convention.
While failing to mention the name of the suspects, Chiumia said “I know the people who are fighting me. I feel sorry that instead of us strengthening the party in readiness for 2019 polls there is internal fight. They are taking advantage of what I said recently in Mzimba concern the electoral reform bills.”
During the rally she held at Mpherembe in Mzimba West Constituency last week, Chiumia said President Peter Mutharika’s administration is not in support of the proposed electoral reforms, especially the proposal to have 50 percent-plus-one majority in the presidential election.
Chiumia said apart from that, Malawi is not ready for change in elections management, as it will be a waste of resources.
She then accused members of the clergy for being confusionists especially for pressurizing Parliamentarians to pass the bills.
Ironically, two other Cabinet ministers who attended the rally— Jappie Mhango (Transport and Public Works) and Goodall Gondwe (Finance, Economic Planning and Development)—did not comment on Chiume’s remarks in their addresses to the meeting.
Later after the media carried the story Chiumia said Malawians misinterpreted her remarks.
“What I meant is, it is my responsibility to outline the disadvantages of such reforms so that Malawians can properly make a decision after comparing the advantages which PAC and other stakeholders are advocating,” she said.
Chiumia said she has written PAC to clarify her remarks, saying her ministry ‘s mandate is to civic educate the people.
PAC has organised nationwide marches on December 13 2017 to demonstrate dissatisfaction with how government has handled electoral and local government reforms.
The Electoral Reforms Bills include an amendment of Section 80(2) of the Constitution and Section 96 (5) of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act proposing 50 percent+1 percent majority in presidential election and an amendment of Section 81 (3) of the Constitution for swearing-in of the President and Vice-President to be done after 30 days.
Proposals to have the reforms date back to 2004 and the subsequent Constitutional Review Conference in 2007.