The Public Affairs Committee (PAC), Malawi’s leading religious group, this week said it will hold a national-wide demonstration on 13 December, 2017 in reaction to governent’s failure to table the electoral reform bill.
PAC chairperson Reverend Felix Chingota disclosed this to the press on Tuesday in Blantyre.
The development follows President Peter Mutharika and office of Speaker of Parliament failure to respond to the PAC petition presented to them last Thursday.
In the said petition, members of the clergy gave Mutharika and Office of the Speaker a seven-day ultimatum to table the electoral reform bill for debate in the current sitting of Parliament.
“Both President Mutharika and the office of the Speaker, have not responded to our petition, hence the development (to stage the nation-wide demonstrations). We already told them that we would hold the demonstrations if they failed to respond to our petition,” said Chingota.
According to him, discussions with the district councils are underway for the demonstration permits.
He denied reports that they are doing this to punish the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is against the bill saying “the bills are for Malawians and our fight is for Malawians.”
However, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu said the bill will not be tabled in Parliament in the current sitting.
Tembenu said Parliament cannot work under the pressure of the clergy and that holding a national wide demonstration is part of their constitutional rights.
Meanwhile, over 16 civil society organisations, opposition parties and donor community organizations, are also demanding that the bill should be presented in the current sitting of Parliament.