Leader of opposition Dr Lazarus Chakwera has said the current parliament’s failure to make Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) independent was a missed opportunity in the fight against corruption.
Chakwera also described the blocking of electoral reforms last year as a missed chance to end nepotistic politics and chaos that mars elections.
Chakwera made the sentiments in his closing remarks for mid-year budget review in the August House in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.
According to Chakwera, the current Parliament which was inaugurated in 2014 has over the years passed some important bills but it failed to make the ACB independent and to pass electoral reforms bills.
“There is much work Parliamentary Committees have done in making our oversight functions more visible and understood by the people and the constituents we represent. Some pieces of legislation have marked watersheds such as the Child Marriage and Protection Act. Others were routine, like the money bills. Other pieces of legislation were to do with strengthening oversight governance institutions.
“But to me, Mr Speaker Sir, we missed a great opportunity when we failed to make the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) independent so it can become a watchdog that truly bits. We failed significantly to deal with electoral reforms that would have guided future generations,” Chakwera said.
Chakwera who is also the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president said the current administration has failed to fight corruption and make sure that elections are not mired in controversy every time.
He claimed that if voted into power, he will make sure that bills on the two issues are passed.
“We want Malawians to know these issues will be part of the first pieces of legislation that we will enact because we are serious about fighting corruption and making sure that democracy moves away from regional and nepotistic politics,” he said.
A bill that sought to trim the president’s powers in appointment of ACB bosses was defeated in 2016 while the electoral reforms bills were blocked last year.
During his speech, Chakwera also demanded the resignation of Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe and Local Government minister Kondwani Nankhumwa over the K4 billion allocation to Members of Parliament.
He said government, through the Finance Minister, flouted procedure and violated the law in its acquisition and distribution of the 4 billion Kwacha.