Members of Parliament (MPs) have opposed banning handouts saying giving money and items to the poor is part of Malawi’s culture.
Banning handouts is part of the Political Parties Bill.
If passed, the bill which was referred to legal affairs committee during the last meeting will restrain Members of Parliament from giving handouts to their supporters especially during campaign period.
There was debate on Monday as Members of Parliament discussed the importance of passing the Political Parties Bill
During the discussions, several MPs stood against the tabling of the bill by Legal Affairs Committee chairperson Maxwell Tcholera claiming the bill is unfair to politicians in the country and has the possibility of killing the country’s culture.
Speaking to the media, Member of Parliament for Salima South Uladi Mussa said the handouts should not be banned claiming it is a Malawian culture to give to the poor.
“I strongly support the Political Parties Bill because it is really bringing discipline in parties but what I am disagreeing with is about handouts.
“Malawi is still poor and we give the poor to ease their pain and for us to ban the handouts to me it’s against our culture, it’s against our tradition and it is against our responsibility and as Christians and Muslims we must assist those who are suffering anywhere. So this time we should not pass this bill,” said Mussa.
Reacting to the tabling of the bill, minister of labour, youth, sports and manpower development, Francis Kasaila said there is need for Legal Affairs Committee to clarify on the clause in the bill.
Kasaila said if Malawi is to ban handouts, it should be done during the whole entire five year term and not only during campaign period as stated in the clause.
However, commenting on the concerns, Legal Affairs Committee chairperson Maxwell Tcholera said that the disagreements amongst MPs were due to misunderstanding of the bill.
Tcholera further said that there is no reason of worrying claiming the clause has clearly stated that the handouts which are to be banned are those done to entice a voter.