The Public Affairs Committee (Pac) has a tough task ahead. The quasi-religious figure has said it intends to meet next week to chart the way forward on the Electoral Reforms (Amendment) Bills that were shot down in Parliament last year.
Pac must know that, this time around, it has a huge task and it has to do a lot to convince people to take it seriously. For over two-and-a-half decades, Pac had been a strong voice and when it made a statement, the ripples could be felt all over. Pac made a huge and regrettable mistake last year when it cancelled demonstrations that were meant to push for the tabling of the bills in question.
Pac was sold a dummy when the government used every tactic in the book to shoot down the bills. That time, individuals, religious groupings as well as civil society organisations (CSOs) gave their full support to Pac for what every well-meaning Malawian believed was a good cause. But Pac spoilt it and lost people’s confidence when it cancelled the demos.
In February, Parliament is meeting again for the Mid-term Budget Review and Pac believes this is another opportunity to have a push on the Electoral Reforms (Amendment) Bills. But Pac must know that it is very clear that the government does not want those bills to be resurrected. After all, Minister of Justice Samuel Tembenu coldly said the bills that were rejected were dead and the nation might as well forget about them.
We understand that Pac fell for some tricks of shysters who have mastered the art of deceit, but, on a second thought, the truth remains that Pac messed up and it will not be easy for the body to convince individuals, religious groupings and CSOs to render support to the cause.
What we are saying is that much as we appreciate Pac’s desire to give, perhaps, a final push on the bills before elections in 2019 and therefore make amends for the mistake the body made last year, our brutal truth is that Pac will not have it easy to convince people this time around.
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