APM’s delusions of grandeur

The speculations of the reasons behind the government shooting down its own bills in the last days of the Parliament meeting have come full circle.

From March this year when the Special Law Commission released the report on the review of electoral laws, the government expressed reluctance to adopt the report, which from all indications was because they were not comfortable with the proposal for a change of the electoral system to 50+1.

The pressure from the clerical body, Public Affairs Committee (Pac), did not make things any better, neither did the 2014 election follow up visit of the European Union Electoral Observer Mission who made it clear that they expect the electoral reforms to be adopted for a smoother election come 2019.

But as the nation learnt later, the government had no intention of taking the bills to Parliament when the pressure became too hard to handle, the full force of the government propaganda materialised using mercenary chiefs and civil society organisations for hire who all touted one message hastily crafted by the government machinery: Malawians were not consulted.

At no point did any government official accuse Pac which organised demonstrations on December 13 was out to take over the government and at no point was the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) as leading this movement.

On Tuesday, the reasons for the government refusing to table the bills approved by the cabinet and a whole cabinet committee were finally revealed.

All President Peter Mutharika needed was a podium and microphone to spill the beans and this opportunity availed itself at the groundbreaking ceremony of a Chinese built hotel in Blantyre.

APM believes there are certain pockets of Malawi society who would like to wrestle this dysfunctional government out from under his feet, these are none other religious groupings who are being used by other individuals to promote their personal agendas.

The reasons for embarking on the electoral reform process, which the government funded and appointed members of the Special Law Commission, were known from the start but it seems it is only APM who thought all the money spent and time lost on the process was about him.

Apparently, the months of hard work of the Special Law Commission crisscrossing the nation meetings various groups and organisations was winding towards bringing down the DPP government by December.

Clearly, APM forgot that the commitment to table the bills during the November sitting came from his own Minister of Justice. The minister could have said in June 2018, for all those calling for the electoral reforms cared.

Going by the processes that led to the bills being tabled in Parliament and the government rejecting them, it is clear that they have never been about any threats to President Mutharika presidency.

How is a proposal to harmonise the age of registration of voters in the Constitution and Presidential and Parliament Elections Act about the president? How does increasing the number of signatures required for presidential and parliamentary candidates about APM and the DPP as if they will have no opponents come 2019?

It is strange that APM might imagine that proposal that a person convicted for moral turpitude should not be eligible to contest is about the DPP or himself for that matter, unless the party has such plans as to field someone undesirable.

It was the government that brought in the Recall provision and that 50+1 should apply to MPs and councillors as well, a clear indication that it was their wish and not that of the Law Commission, MCP or Pac.

If APM thinks every process that happened leading to the tabling of the bills was about taking over his government, then he must suffer from delusions of grandeur: A false and exaggerated belief about one’s status or importance

The electoral reforms were not about him or his DPP. They were about the credibility of elections in this country long after the DPP and his government continue to exist.

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