Malawi’s Top Lawyer Chrispin Sibande Warns MCP Over Electoral Laws Bill

Sibande: This is wrong, very wrong.

Malawi Congress Party says it does not want the proposed 50+1 electoral system but is making noise in support of it because of pressure from donors.

The system, 50+1 demands that presidential candidate to be declared winner should amass over half of the number of votes.

MCP told Times Group, publishers of Daily Times, Malawi News and Sunday Times in confidence that Malawi is not ready to start the new the electoral system. The party said the system will not help MCP to get adequate votes for victory.

“The party spoke out on this electoral system that it is not good for the country. They said MCP does not support it at all but it is under pressure from donors like the UK government to support it and press government to ensure that it is passed into law,” said a source from Times.

But Lawyer Chrispin Sibande has said calls for the enactment of electoral laws are based on emotions, politics and personal interests.

“This is wrong, very wrong. Simply the call borders on some personal interests rather than democratic principles,” he wrote on his wall.

“The call to pass laws should be based on the need to entrench constitutionalism in the sense that we Malawians created the Law Commission. The Law Commission was established established with the mandate of reviewing laws and making recommendations and these recommendations include proposed Bills to be considered by Executive and then Parliament,” he said.

 

BELOW IS SIBANDE’S STATEMENT IN VERBATIM

There is a call by certain quarters that Malawi Parliament should debate and pass Electoral Reforms Bill during the current November session. That is fine. But I see a problem in that. The problem is that the call is based on emotions, politics, consideration of governance arguments and the upcoming 2019 elections. This is wrong. Very wrong. Simply the call borders on some personal interests rather than democratic principles.

The call to pass laws should be based on the need to entrench constitutionalism in the sense that we Malawians created The Law Commission. The Law Commission was established with the mandate of reviewing laws and making recommendations…and those recommendations include proposed Bills to be considered by Executive and then Parliament. The recommendations from the Law Commission should always be considered because that is the spirit behind its establishment.

Now now the Law Commission has made several recommendations on various issues including proposed Bills. Why should Electoral Reforms Bill be the first on the queue? Why? We have other Bills that Law Commission has proposed way before Electoral Reforms. Those Bills should be considered and passed first before going for Electoral Reforms. So tomorrow go to Law Commission and get the list of Bills they have proposed. Let us have those Bills considered first before the Electoral Reforms Bill. Media reports indicate that the Report on the Review of Electoral Laws which include Proposed Electoral Reforms Bill was the last on the queue and this happened in 2017. Already there is a call to pass the proposed Bill in the same 2017 while we have several other Bills proposed by the same Law Commission which are not seeing the corridors of Parliament. The reports and proposed Bills are gathering dust. Let us pass laws based on principles…….the principle that all Laws reviewed and developed by Law Commission should be considered and passed. We shouldn’t be selective. We shouldn’t choose based on individual interests. After all the process of reviewing laws by the Law Commission is already very consultative. So we start with the oldest/earliest proposed Bills from the Law Commission and then all the way to Electoral Reforms Bill and the said Electoral Reforms Bill should be the last on the schedule as per Law Commission work.

77 Responses to "Malawi’s Top Lawyer Chrispin Sibande Warns MCP Over Electoral Laws Bill"

  1. Profigo Xihevi Solus   November 16, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Is not the Special Law Commission that came up with those recommendations? huh? Did not Tembenu promise that the bills would be brought to parliament for debate in November, 2017? Is it wrong that Malawians should have a president who is elected by the majority like in Zambia, Kenya or other countries? I don’t believe that you have quoted Chrispin Siwande rightly for sure. We needed this law yesterday and by what happened in 2014, it is clear we need it now. Let all of us elect the president by majority votes and that is how we will gain respect. Always people that think they would lose using better laws are always afraid

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  2. Wilson Nkwanda   November 23, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Still if the law is passed, political parties will resort to coalitions (alliances) just to beat the law in question. Will the help the country move forward? There is a big advantage when president is elected by the minority. Go back to 2004 where late Bingu was elected by only 34.46%. Did he perform? A big “Yes” then came 2009 Bingu’s landslide victory. Did he perform? Absolutely no, you and me we are witnesses. No fuel, no forex, bad governance, analinso president wamwano kwambiri we all know it. Now 50+1% not good for ordinary Malawians coz s/he can Malawi with an iron fist and parliament may pass laws that cannot benefit MALAWIANS. Let there be pressure when they are in minority govt, they deliver full. That’s my opinion anyway. MCP must be cautious coz not all is rosy in their family, they still have a tough ride ahead of 2019. A free-loose question “Who writes Chakwera’s speeches?”. They are helping the Opposition Leader at all, or else Chakwera is alearned person, he must independently examine speeches before parliament otherwise many of us have lost trust and credibility in Chakwera’s speeches.

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