The question of electoral reforms has attracted wide coverage and analyses across the political divide.The opposition backed by religious clerics is gunning for the amendment whilst the Government is accused of dragging its feet on the matter and stalling the process of tabling the Reforms Bill.Needless to say, tabling of the bill in Parliament doesn’t render its passing automatic.It may well be defeated or tinkered in some other way.But hey that’s a matter for another day.
I have no intention to cast aspersions on the integrity of the process culminating into promulgation of this Bill let alone to disparage the persons involved in the process.But am wondering if the Bill truly reflects the wishes of the Malawians.Was there any robust engagement and consultation with the public in order to obtain their views?If there was ever such an exercise then I daresay it was not sufficiently transparent and open to all.If it had been open enough I easily would have conveyed my thoughts for what they are worth.
If truth be told,at the heart of the proposed amendments is a political contestation between DPP and MCP. The DPP or APM Administration was not involved in drafting the current constitution.The existing electoral systems was hatched by negotiations involving MCP,UDF and Aford amongst other stakeholders.There must have been equally sound reasons why the framers opted to refrain from adopting the 50+1 % in the first place.So what has changed?Some parties are failing to win elections and they now prefer to change the electoral system in order to improve their prospects of getting elected.Am totally opposed to fixing the Constitution merely to serve narrow partisan interests and expediency.What MCP needs to do is to make inroads in the South rather than advocate the tinkering of the Supreme law of the land in a bid to boost winning chances.They must find political solutions to their problems rather than hope that a run off be-set with convenient coalitions and pacts will save the day for them.There are several matters in the Constitution that require attention apart from the electoral issues.If the Constitution has become obsolote then lets go back to the drawing board and draft a fresh one.These piecemeal and politically convenient amendments amount to regress and offer little hope for constitutional stability. Our Constitution has been amended numerous times in just a little over 20 years.Perhaps this is evidence of its inherent imperfections.Panel beating it wont provide lasting solutions.Rather lets negotiate adoption of a new Constitution after meaningful consultations with the public.Meantime lets maintain the status quo.
The current system has served us pretty well and is not DPP or APMs brainchild.They found it already in place.After losing a cycle of 5 elections MCP now wants to blame the system for its electoral failures.And they want to drag us all into it.
As for Chilima he keeps acting like the political novice that he truly is.Am not sure he needed to read this other letter in Church.Clearly he endorses the demonstrations against a Government he is supposed to be part of.I dont get it.Wheres the political correctness and morality in his actions?He cant pretend he didnt know beforehand what he was going to announce.Chilima’s fate is sealed!
This isnt a pastoral matter.Its a political and secular matter.The Bishops had better tread with caution.By wading deep into the murky political waters whilst hiding under the mask of their robes, they risk their credibility.They can offer some insights but instigating mass demonstrations on such a polarizing political matter is deplorable.50 +1 cant be the panacea to our country’s woes or tame the leadership deficit.
If anything it might even replicate the initial result as happened in Kenya.Or rob an opposition candidate of a victory as happened with Tsvangirai who beat Mugabe but failed to secure the 51%. MCP too can win 40% and DPP 35% for arguments’ sake .The run off could see DPP with their financial resources turn the tables.They would prepare better for the run off and recover.
Also the will of the voter is freely expressed at the outset and not through copy voting.If am UDF and my candidate doesnt make the run off I wouldnt vote.Why should my political choices be limited by law to MCP and DPP?If theres no UDF presidential candidate on the ballot then I wouldnt vote.The moral of the story is that the re runs are often characterised by apathy.They arent the true reflection of the peoples will.Rather the process opens up to backroom wheeling and dealing often marred by power sharing arrangements by riding on the peoples backs.
Re runs also have a low acceptability and are often marred by challenges at either level,A prolonged electoral circus is the last thing Malawi or Africa needs.
FIRST PAST THE POST IS THE REAL DEAL