The Public Affairs Committee (Pac) has thrown out federalism agenda at its forthcoming indaba and has further withdrawn invitations sent to the advocates of the federal system of government who were already preparing for the meeting.
Pac Executive Director Robert Phiri confirmed the developments saying the country is faced with emerging issues which need immediate attention as compared to federalism.
The national conference debate on federalism was scheduled for October 20-21 in Lilongwe and invitation letters had been sent already and Coalition for Federalists spokesperson Harris Kanyeremuka confirmed that he was one of those invited and was ready for the meeting.
“The Pac Board endorsed 20- 21 October, 2015 as the dates for a follow-up stakeholders’ Forum on Federalism and Inclusivity. However, it has been suggested that we shift the dates and organise a fifth All Inclusive Stakeholders Conference in the interim with a specific focus [not federalism] to ensure that authorities stick to implementation of resolutions. This event will be dependent on the availability of funds which we are negotiating at the moment,” said Phiri in an emailed response to our questionnaire.
He said federalism would be discussed later and that all invited participants should not travel to the conference.
“It seems that stakeholders by now know the problems of Malawi but enforceability of certain resolutions remains a challenge and, therefore, the country cannot move. The view to hold such a forum has emerged because of such current political and economic situation. The board will meet soon to receive details of this proposal from Pac management. We feel there is no wisdom to ignore the current challenges when several Malawians are complaining about the situation,” said Phiri.
Coalition for Federalists (Cofe) spokesperson Dan Msowoya accused Pac of going against the wishes of the majority by changing and postponing the conference to undisclosed date.
“I don’t think the current economic issues and political matters such as UN presidential trip with a huge team is more important than federalism. To us, who are advocating for federal system of government, all these could have gone together and not ignoring federalism. We believe the federal issue is a basic need of the country. The current challenges the country is going through can be easily addressed if we can adopt federal system of government,” challenged Msowoya
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