The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has said it will take action if government plays tactics to delay the Electoral Reforms Bills during the current parliamentary sitting.
The warning was made by PAC Chairperson Felix Chingota during a media briefing in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe when he was announcing that the slated 13 December 2017 peaceful demonstrations have been postponed.
According to Chingota, the demos have not been cancelled but postponed as the quasi-religious is observing how the bills are being handled since now they have been given to legislators for debating.
PAC Chairperson said government seems to be acting on the bills and that is why the demos have been postponed but if government plays hide and seek games to delay the bills, an action will be taken.
PAC observed that government has so far taken to Parliament 5 bills among 6 which shows that the Executive is responding and that is why the demos have been called off.
“Members took time to examine the requests and noted that 5 out 6 bills have been presented to parliament and that the bills have been prioritised to be debated this week. It was however observed that the government brought some new changes to the bills especially on 50 + 1 percent which now extends to MPs and Councillors. We note that this was not part of the Law Commissions report.
“We further observe that the Local Government Act reforms have not reached parliament. The letter from us still remain crucial to improvement of service delivery in Malawi. The approach taken by government to introduce changes to the bills that were not anticipated demonstrates bad intention on their part,” Chingota said.
And the other reason why the demos have been postponed is that PAC wants to give Members of Parliament a chance to debate the bills freely on Thursday 14, December 2017.
Asked on whether the protests have been cancelled because other branches of PAC were against the demos, the religious body said that it has not been moved by anyone.