Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Govt must be honest on bills


AT long last, the government seems to be
dancing to the beat of reason for, after playing
hide-and-seek with the opposition and, by
extension, Malawians on Electoral Reforms
Amendment Bills, sanity finally prevailed
yesterday when the government side promised
to table two out of six bills on the same.
While we take the government’s promise
with a pinch of salt, we believe that the promise
has been made in good faith considering that
Malawi is on the verge of ending electionrelated
Memories of the 2014 Tripartite Elections
and, of course, the election of 2009, 2004
and 1999 are still fresh. We are talking of
experiences we have had, in terms of disputes
related to election results. Save for the
elections of 1994, when the Malawi Congress
Party (MCP) honourably bowed out of the
government and peacefully handed over the
mantle to the United Democratic Front, our
elections have been marred by disputes.
Against this background, it baffles us that
the government continues to play delaying
tactics, when it comes to tabling the six
Electoral Reforms Amendment Bills. In fact,
the government side seems to have been
spurred into action after push came to shove.
On Monday, MCP Members of Parliament
and legislators from some opposition parties
walked out of Parliament’s chamber. The
legislators only returned to the chamber
yesterday, after the Business Committee of
Parliament hastily made an announcement,
to the effect that two bills would be tabled as
a matter of urgency. Further to that, it was
suggested that the current meeting be extended
beyond its term to make way for legislators to
table the four remaining bills.
We can only hope that the government side
will not revert to the tried and tired tactics
of delaying the inevitable. The only way out
of this, and the sure way to winning citizens’
trust, is to live up to its promise and bring on
the bills for tabling.
We do not want the government to hide
behind costs and run away from people’s
expectations. The issue of money sounds like
another evasive tactic.
We need the laws and when you need
something there is a cost to it. With pressure
mounting from all angles, except the ruling
party, the writing is on the wall that this
government has been sailing against citizens’
wishes, forgetting that leaders rule on trust.

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