The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) plans to mount a protest in the august House if the Electoral Reforms Amendment Bills are not tabled in the meeting of the 47th session of Parliament which President Peter Mutharika opened on Friday.
MCP president, Lazarus Chakwera, said last week that his party was hopeful that the amendment Bills would come on the floor in the course of Parliament’s meeting, following revelations that Cabinet has not yet met to discuss the bills, a process which, technically, makes them ready for tabling in Parliament.
Among other things, the Electoral Reforms Bills could bring earth-shaking reforms, among them a shift from First- Past-The-Post to 50+1 electoral system.
Even President Peter Mutharika did not mention the Bills in his opening address last Friday.
The President’s omission of the Bills in his speech could mean the Bills are not a priority for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government.
But sources within the MCP warned yesterday, after the party’s caucus, that they would not allow the DPP to get away with it.
“We will protest that because everyone wants the Bills after the government promised that they would be tabled. Therefore, we do not expect excuses,” one of the MCP MPs confided in The Daily Times.
Chakwera does not want to accept that the Bills will not be tabled, let alone be passed, arguing that the government does not have any excuse as even Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu committed that the Bill would be tabled in November.
The MCP leader, who is also Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, was responding to a question on his take on revelations that the Bills may not be ready for tabling.
While not disclosing what the opposition side of the House would do if the government fails to present the Bills, Chakwera said the Bills are meant to serve the interest of Malawians.
“The whole world was told, the whole country was told, by an honourable minister that the Bills on the electoral reforms would be presented in the meeting beginning this month. We expect that they will live by their own promise, unless they want to tell Malawians that they should not be trusted anymore,” Chakwera said.