Parliament passes Political Parties bill, DPP expresses reservations

Dr. George Chaponda DPP parliamentarians

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) says it has issues with the Political Parties bill in its current form and that unless these are addressed, it does not support the legislation.

MP for Mulanje South West George Chaponda stated that the party appreciates the spirit which seeks to align policies, priorities and manifestos of various parties towards the Mw2063 agenda which is good and acceptable.

He noted that around the world, countries have made a lot of progress because of this kind of approach of aligning policies to national development agendas.

However, the party expressed reservations arguing that much as alignment of policies and manifestos is good, it will be problematic in Malawi due to lack of leadership.

“There is lack of political will and unless we can have a commitment towards this bill that it will be implemented, then we are just wasting our time. For instance, we have said that we would like that in the bill there have to be somewhere mentioned that if the party in power commits itself to certain policies to be done, it has to be done within a particular framework.

“We have the case of one million jobs which were promised by the Tonse Alliance, nothing has happened. We have cited the issue of fertilizer which we were told that it will be K4,500, nothing has materialised. We have cited the issue of the rising cost of fuel; we were told that fuel will never rise, this has never happened and we have cited many other things which had been promised but they have not materialised.

DPP legislators captured in the chamber in this MANA file photo 

“Now, this is of concern to us that we can be having these bills; they are meaningless unless we have the leadership and commitment. Secondly, we have also made it known that even if we have nice legislation in place, but if we have miscarriage of justice, if we have others facing selective prosecution, some people are prosecuted other people they look a blind eye; is that good for the country? Certain corruption practices have been pursued, the issue of the K6.2 billion COVID funds, the K17.5 billion and then they are left scot free will this put Malawi anywhere?" queried Chaponda

The lawyer, stated the bill is just looking at established parties noting even these ones will have to submit their manifestos within a particular timeframe in line with MW2063 stressing this has to be spelt out in the amendment.

Chaponda further observed the amendment is silent on independents that have stood as Presidential candidates in Malawi.

“So looking at these issues, we feel that we have this bill either DPP will not support it or alternatively the government should have a second look it in order that what we have mentioned should be included. I have also not mentioned that we appreciate that the Planning Commission will be involved in monitoring and ensuring that these policies are aligned to the manifestos. But we have a problem that what will they be doing? Will they be in line with section 33 of the Constitution? To what extent will the individuals, freedom of conscience be addressed? These are the issues which we feel have to be taken into account.

The bill was later on passed after making amendments following an understanding to re-work on the wording of the Bill to remove any ambiguity in some of the clauses.