When the President Peter Mutharika fired George Chaponda as Agriculture Minister in February this year, everyone was compelled to think even the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) felt as bad as Malawians did in the maizegate scandal in which Chaponda is feared to have played a key role.
But months down the line, having been absent in DPP’s rallies, Chaponda who is the party’s Vice President for the Southern Region is now back in the podiums of the DPP’s rallies.
Chaponda- who has come under fire over his feared involvement in the maizegate scandal was still
Minister despite a recent recommendation by special commission of inquiries that he be investigated of what they dubbed as suspicious dealings with Transglobe Limited.
There also was more trouble for the Minister as the Anti-Corruption Bureau found millions of cash at his residence in Area 10 in Lilongwe.
Chaponda had become very unpopular in Malawi with the social media reacting unsparing to the matter.
He had been then been not attending several rallies.
A political analyst had in February told Malawi24 that it was right for DPP officials to push Mutharika to axe Chaponda- who apparently still served the post of vice president for the ruling party in the South.
At that time, it was reported that some DPP officials even bayed for Chaponda’s blood as the party’s veep.
No wonder, following his axing as Minister subsequently led to his absence in the rallies the DPP held.
His recent public appearance was in Ndirande Township in Blantyre where the DPP welcome over a 100 opposition Peoples Party (PP) officials. This is at a time when the DPP is reportedly coaxing the PP to merge ahead of the 2019 elections.
He remains DPP’s southern region vice president.
The DPP’s reported merge with the PP is coming hot in the heels of a call for a 50+1 electoral reform which needs to see a party to have over 50% votes from the entire votes.
The laws requires that the winning president will have to amass at least 50+1 percent of the national vote.
In the previous elections, Malawi had been using the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) or winner-takes-all system to elect presidents, Members of Parliament (MPs) and ward councillors.
In the run-off system, if no candidate reaches the required rate during the first poll, a run-off will have to be held in which two presidential candidates who obtained the highest and second highest number of valid votes cast should be the only candidates.
For this to be adopted, Parliament needs to amend Section 80 (2) of the Constitution and Section 96 (5) of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections (PPE) Act to provide change of the electoral system to the 50+1 threshold.
News making rounds now show that the bill is ready for tabling in parliament even though a cabinet sitting has reportedly altered the bill so that it also applies to elections for Members of Parliament (MPs) and Wad Councillors.