Leader of Opposition, Lazarus Chakwera, has suggested that President Peter Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) parliamentarians should be confined to a mental hospital for voting against the 50+1 bills.
Chakwera, who is also President of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), released an emotionally charged statement that blasted Members of Parliament (MPs) who shot down the 50+1 Electoral Reforms bills.
“President Mutharika’s MPs have chosen to cut off their noses to spite their own faces. So all of you Malawians have every right to wonder if the courts which sent Wandale for psychiatric treatment may have sent the wrong Wandale!” said Chakwera.
DPP, backed by United Democratic Front (UDF) and People’s Party (PP) MPs, successfully defeated the Constitutional Amendment Bill, and the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Amendment Bill, collectively referred to as the 50+1 bills of electing a president, MP and councilor.
The bills propose that a candidate must secure over 50% of the votes to win, failing which would result in a re-run of elections involving the two leading candidates for the position.
100 MPs rejected the Constitutional Amendment Bill against 59 MPs who voted for it. 34 parliamentarians were not in the chamber during the deliberations. On Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Amendment Bill, 97 parliamentarians voted against the amendment 64 voted yes. 29 MPs were absent and 2 law makers abstained.
The voting patterns confirmed the DPP and PP working alliance with stout critics of government like Uladi Mussa and Ralph Jooma joining DPP in shooting down the bills.
Meanwhile, Public Affairs Committee, a grouping of religious bodies that postponed at the 11th hour demonstrations to have the bills tabled in Parliament has described as a “betrayal” of trust the outcome. The body has said it was “fooled” into believing the bills would be passed into law if taken to Parliament.