Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Consult widely on HIV/ Aids Bill


THE importance of legislation in a democracy is obvious. But the process of formulating any kind of legislation should be exhaustive, considering that any gaps would cause more problems than the problems that a particular legislation is meant to address.

To begin with, legislation is one of the most important instruments of the government in organising the society and protecting citizens. It determines, among other things, the rights and responsibilities of individuals and authorities to whom the legislation applies.

In Malawi, the enactment of the HIV and Aids Prevention and Management Bill would address a number of issues regarding HIV and Aids. Chief to that is the protection of citizens, most of whom have suffered immensely due to practices of individuals.


However, as some Civil Society Organisations have indicated, there are a lot of challenges hence their stand to see the Bill dropped. Whichever side one takes, it is obvious that this Bill will cause problems and there is, therefore, need to consult widely before any decision is made.

This would mean consulting groups of people who might have been ignored initially, despite the fact that most CSOs represent the views of the people.

Knowing how formulation of legislation is done, we believe there were consultations before reaching this stage. Whether concerned citizens’ views were considered or not, it is not too late to re-look at the Bill and decide whether it is important to go ahead or not.


The strides that Malawi has made in HIV/ Aids fight, through a number of interventions, provide hope that the right approaches have been embraced. As indicated by the concerned CSOs, those achievements might be eroded if we are not careful.

As suggested by the activists, the interventions that have proved to be effective should be intensified instead of redirecting energies elsewhere, which could only lead to confusion.

We understand the call made by CSOs that the Bill should be dropped but we also believe that some of such decisions are only emotional. To ensure that the country takes the right direction, we believe there is need to consult widely.

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