The Public Affairs Committee (Pac) yesterday swallowed its pride and admitted that government fooled them into stopping the planned peaceful demonstrations designed to force government to table the six Electoral Reforms (Amendment) Bills
Pac had scheduled peaceful protests this week, with backing from the Malawi Council of Churches, the Episcopal Conference of Malawi and many other faith groups, but cancelled the demonstrations after government convinced them they would table the bills in Parliament
The protests were stopped, a day before December 13 — the actual day of demonstrations.
Asked whether Pac agrees with the public sentiments that government fooled them into stopping the protests, Pac spokesperson Father Peter Mulomole said that they [Pac] knew what government was going to do.
“Of course they have fooled us. We knew they were going to do that and they have done it. You saw how they messed with the bills like that of 50 + 1… the bills went to Parliament and as parliamentarians they have done what they have done,” Mulomole said.
It’s been a betrayal, Mulomole said, and Pac board has to meet and agree on the way forward but this was foreseen.
He also agreed when asked whether they made a mistake to quickly cancel the protests.
“I agree with them and sympathise with them. As Pac we act on principles and not emotions so we had to be consistent. We were demanding that bills should go to Parliament and bills went to Parliament so what against at that time?”
Government had grown cold feet to present the six bills, namely; the Constitution Amendment Bill, The Transitional Arrangement Bill, the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Amendment Bill, the Referendum Bill, the Electoral Commission Bill and the Electoral Management Fund Bill.
But after mounting pressure from Pac and leading faith groups in the country, government agreed with Pac to table the bills this week.
And true to that, Leader of the House, Kondwani Nankhumwa, first pushed in two bills last week and brought three more this week.
“They hurried with the bills to Parliament before the demonstrations just to stop the demonstrations… it was clever on their part we might have been outwitted but actually to be consistent we had to postpone the demos,” Mulomole said.
“We were demanding bills to go to parliament and they did that and if we went on with the demos we would have been inconsistent in our agenda
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