LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)- The 47th Session of Malawi Parliament was on Friday, December 15, adjourned sine die amid opposition lawmakers dejected over government conduct of shooting own half of the electoral reforms bills which were presented in house since Wednesday this week.
The session ended without legislators concluding deliberations, tabling and passing of some major Bills, including the pieces of legislation which has the contentious 50-plus-one provision which seeks that a President be elected by over 50 percent of total voters.
The main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has accused the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of deliberately frustrating the adoption of electoral reforms, which are aimed at ensuring credible conduct of polls in future, removing any room for manipulation.
Leader of opposition and MCP President, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera expressed sadness over the development saying the sitting has “simply been an extraordinary one where we have witnessed the executive shenanigans play out in this August House with regards to the Electoral Reform bills”.
But presenting his ‘discontinuance’ speech in Chamber on Friday, leader of government business in Parliament, Kondwani Nankhumwa dismissed any ‘assumptions’ government was against the electoral reforms.
“I wish to array any assumptions that the Executive has ‘shot down’ the other Bills in the package, including the amendment of Section 80 (2) of the Constitution and Section 96 (5) of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act, as being portrayed in some quarters.
“As much as we appreciate the aspirations of some of the sections of the society to see that reforms are quickly adopted and implemented in the manner elections are conducted in this country, we also have to ensure that the process is thoroughly democratic,” said the Mulanje Central legislator.
Nankhumwa, who is also Local Government and Rural Development Minister, said the Executive shall ensure that all outstanding Bills and other business are dealt with expeditiously and that the ‘tabling’ of the Electoral Reform Bills alone was a loud demonstration that the Executive listens to the people of Malawi.
“We are committed that we fulfill the wishes and aspirations of the people of Malawi. It is our firm resolve as Government to continue to enhance democratic governance in Malawi and jealously preserve the democratic gains made since Malawians chose political pluralism in 1993. We shall ensure that the Executive continues to be genuinely accountable to the people of Malawi through the Legislature,” he said.
The local government minister lauded fellow MPs for performing their “noble duties professionally and with great sense of responsibility, as genuine representatives of our people”.
Nankhumwa observed that during the just ended session, it was “crystal clear” that democracy was genuinely at play where MPs freely made contributions during debate, particularly on Electoral Reforms Bills.
“During this sitting, individual members exercised their respective democratic right and freedom to vote on each Bill. In a democratic set-up, every individual must enjoy the right to either agree or disagree with any viewpoint, according to their own understanding of issues,” said the Leader of the House.
He noted that democracy represents the views and notions of all the citizens, whether majorities or minorities
“So, in the spirit of democracy, we needed to carry everyone along in deciding how best the matter of Electoral Reform Bills should be managed to attain national consensus” he said.
On corruption, Nankhumwa hailed President Peter Mutharika for his firm resolve to fighting corruption, which he said retards social and economic development.
“From what he said recently at National Police Headquarters in Lilongwe and in this very august House, it is evident that His Excellency has a deep sense of mission to maintain a clean and ethical government. He has made ethical and incorruptible public service a core issue for his government,” he said.
He said that through its oversight role, the Legislature must complement the President’s efforts to fight corruption and abuse of public resources.
Nankhumwa said Malawians pay taxes “through their noses” and it was not acceptable that their hard-earned money should end up in the pockets of a few greedy public officials instead of financing public service delivery and development projects.
However, the conduct of DPP, some PP and independent MPs has puzzled the public to whose interests are they serving as the electoral reforms are for all Malawi not a particular party.