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Pac to meet over demonstrations

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The Public Affairs Committee (Pac) will on Tuesday next week meet to decide on whether to hold demonstrations against government, Executive Director Robert Phiri said Wednesday

“On Tuesday next week, the Board is going to meet in Lilongwe. In that meeting, we will seek the Board’s guidance on what we should do on the demonstrations that were postponed in December,” Phiri said.

Pac Chairperson Reverend Felix Chingota also confirmed the meeting.

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In December last year, Pac, at the eleventh hour, cancelled demonstrations that were meant to force government to table Electoral Reforms (Amendment) Bills, a decision which angered those in support of the bills.

“Of course, there will be many other issues that we will tackle. But in the morning, we will focus on the issue of the demonstrations and how we move forward. The decision will be made in that meeting,” Phiri said.

Pac came under fire when it cancelled the demonstrations after it was convinced that the government was willing to table the bills in Parliament.

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However, the government brought adulterated bills in Parliament which were shot down by Members of Parliament (MPs). Pac later admitted to have been sold a dummy by the government.

The bills that were shot down were Constitution (Amendment) No 2 of 2017, Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections, and Assumption of Office of the President (Transitional Arrangements).

Another bill that was expected to be tabled, discussed and passed in the November 2017 meeting of Parliament was the Electoral Commission (Amendment), but the legislators referred it to the Legal Affairs Committee.

The MPs only passed Referendum Bill which, to many, was not as significant as the bills that were blocked.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu recently told The Daily Times that the bills that were blocked were dead.

Parliament is scheduled to meet for the mid-term budget review on February 5.

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