The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) will hold natiowide demonstrations on December 13 following government’s failure to table the Electoral Reforms Bills in Parliament.
PAC is pushing for the tabling and debating of the bills during the current sitting of Parliement which ends mid-December.
PAC executive director Robert Phiri told the local media that the protests will be held in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba cities and preparations will start today.
Phiri said the development was discussed at a board meeting held in Blantyre yesterday, on November 28 which also settled for the date.
He added that the emergency meeting was called after government challenged the religious body that its petition presented last Thursday in which it gave government until Wednesday to table the bills would not change anything on how government is handling the matter.
“PAC secretariat has now been empowered to proceed organising the peaceful nationwide march after the trustees and executives of mother bodies adopted the date. So, unless something crops up, preparations for the national protests will start tomorrow [today],” said Phiri.
He further said the board examined government’s response in the wake of its petition to President Peter Mutharika and Speaker of National Assembly Richard Msowoya.
Reacting to the PAC petition, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu, said government has its own timeline for tabling the bills and is not answerable to PAC.
“Government cannot be dictated by unreasonable demands made by PAC. We are accountable to people of this country,” said Tembenu.
Among other things, the Electoral Reforms Bills propose the introduction of the 50+1 percent system of voting for president and will change date of swearing-in of the President and Vice-President to 30 days after winner is announced.