Civil Society Organizations and individuals have expressed the need for government to table the Electoral Reforms Bill.
Speaking during the debate organized by National Initiative for Civic Education NICE Trust and European Union on Tuesday evening in Blantyre, panelists and participants agreed that this 47th parliament seating is ideal to table the bill as it will bring credibility to Malawi’s elections.
Speaking to Radio Islam after the debate, one of the panelists the former MEC commissioner Reverend Ambassador Chinkwita Phiri said the Electoral Reforms Bill is not new to parliamentarians because it has been under discussion since 2011.
“The 50 plus one system is not meant to punish individuals or political parties as such government should not be afraid to table the bill in this current parliament seating,” said Phiri.
He warned that delay to table the bill will negatively affect preparations for 2019 elections adding the general public needs to be civic educated in time about the reforms.
Dr Mwiza Nkhata another panelist said the electoral reform bill is vital as it harmonizes and brings sanity to the laws governing elections in the country.
“Currently the Electoral laws are in different parts of the constitution which is a challenge during application therefore the reform will bring coherency of the laws,” Nkhata said
He further said government promised stakeholders and signed to take the bill to the August House come November 2017 as such it must honor those promises now.
In his remarks, NICE Trust representative Henry Gwedeza said the debate was organized to give a platform to the public to voice out their views on matters of national interest.
“Generating views from different quarters is healthy to democracy,” expressed Gwedeza
He further said Nice Trust is expected to conduct similar debates in Lilongwe and Mzuzu cities.