Government breaks silence on electoral reforms bill

Written by  Gladys Nthenda

Government has finally come out of its cocoon to dispel assertions which were made over the past few days by opposition lawmakers of its unwillingness to present the Electoral Reforms Bill and has effectively updated Parliament on the matter.

Tembenu: All the electoral related laws will come in full and sufficient time Tembenu: All the electoral related laws will come in full and sufficient time

Briefing the House on Wednesday Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu said Cabinet has considered the Report on the Bill; made its initial observations and is expected to conclude the work this week at Committee level.

He explained that under Section 7 of the Malawi Constitution the Executive is responsible for the initiation of policies and legislation so too with the implementation of all laws which must embody the wishes of Malawians.

Tembenu pointed out that Cabinet is empowered by the Law Commission Act in Section 12 to approve all Draft Legislation which comes from the Commission by way of its recommendations.

He further informed the House that after Cabinet gives its full and final approval, all the electoral laws reform pieces would be published in the gazette as government bills and in accordance with the laws and later introduced in Parliament.

Tembenu expressed concern over utterances from the opposition which he noted presented them like they are champions of the law reforms.

He however stressed that government is the real champion in as far as the matter is concerned.

He nonetheless assured that all the electoral related laws will come in full and sufficient time during this current sitting.

“I’d want to reconfirm government’s commitment to bring that package before this House.

“I hope that the information I have given will help in isolating fact from fiction and also in dispelling the fantasy and speculations that have been made over the past few days,” stressed Tembenu.

The Justice Minister then urged the public not to be swayed by mere speculations on the matter.

“I would want to appeal to Malawians out they should not be carried away by some of the hypocritical statements that are being made because government’s commitment is still steadfast and the resolve is there,” he stated.

On Monday most members of the opposition queried the absence of the Reforms Bill in the Order Paper which to them was enough indication that it is unlikely to be presented before the National Assembly.

In response Tembenu explained that this can only happen only when the Bills have been published and this will be when Cabinet has completed its work.

He maintained that the Electoral related laws haven’t delayed as implementation will be done by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).


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