PAC courts Speaker over Section 65

The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) is on Wednesday scheduled to meet Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya and his team at Parliament Building in Lilongwe over implementation of Section 65 and other constitutional issues.

PAC executive director Robert Phiri confirmed the meeting in an interview on Wednesday.

Speaker of the National Assembly  Richard Msowoya
Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya

Accompanying the board and executive of the committee to the meeting, according to Phiri, would be the former Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda.

Phiri said: “Yes, the meeting is set to take place tomorrow [today]. As PAC, we have always advocated for legal reforms, both constitutional and electoral. Issues set for discussion include implementation of Section 65.”

He said PAC’s position on Section 65 is that the Speaker, as the constitutional provision stands now, has powers to invoke Section 65 and expel members of Parliament (MPs) who cross the floor.

Phiri said the former Speaker has been drafted into the meeting to share with the participants how some of the issues (regarding Section 65) were handled and how far they went.

On electoral law reforms, the PAC executive director disclosed that the major issue they would raise at the meeting will do with the election of a President.

Phiri said: “We support a suggestion that a presidential candidate must muster a 50+1 percentage vote to be declared a winner and not just a simple majority vote as is the case.”

He said PAC supports the proposal because it gives any President an acceptable mandate to lead the nation.

In the May 2014 presidential race, President Peter Mutharika won with a majority vote of 36.4 percent.

Phiri also disclosed that PAC has booked an appointment with President Mutharika on the same matters, but that it will be more of a follow-up on issues presidential candidates discussed with the committee during interface meetings before elections.

“There were commitments the presidential candidates made that, once elected, they would implement. Section 65 was one of them. So if accorded the opportunity to meet the President, it is more of a follow-up on those issues and the meeting will serve as a reminder on commitments made,” he said.

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  1. PAC executive director do not divert PAC ethos and the spirit on which it was founded. PAC exists to serves the needs of the poor Malawians and not bring laws that will negatively impact on the poor. The problem of 50 + is unattainable in Malawi where people vote on ethnic line. Decisions should be evidence based in line the country economy in mind. Stop dreaming or being used for things that will not benefit Malawi.

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