By staff writer 3/12/17
Catholic bishops in Malawi have called upon Malawians to join protests organized by Public Affairs Committee on December 13 to force President Peter Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party to table Electoral Reforms Bill in the current sitting of Parliament.
This has come as good news to millions of Malawians who want elections to be managed better unlike in the past where there have been many irregularities in counting and transmitting of results.
Over the past weeks government side in Parliament has been playing hide and seek denying to bring the bill before the current sitting for deliberation despite promising Malawians months ago.
When opposition MPs asked of the tabling of the bill government led by their leader in the House Kondwani Nankhumwa did not give convincing answers, an act that raised eyebrows because the State President himself also remained mum during his address during the opening of this session of Parliament weeks earlier.
Instead DPP went to town and started shopping chiefs and civil society organizations to defend their decision of not tabling the bill. The chiefs were led by Ngolongoliwa of Thyolo, Lundu of Chikwawa, Lukwa of Kasungu and Kyungu of Karonga.
The statement by Catholic bishops has now changed everything because it demotes the petition by chiefs as a small matter. Malawians will listen more to their religious leaders than chiefs, an Afrobarometer poll said months ago.
It is the same bishops who openly spoke against Kamuzu Banda in 1992 and have since rose to the occasion to correct government whenever power is under abuse.
During Bingu wa Mutharika’s rule the same bishops spoke hard against his rule which they said was autocratic. Efforts by Bingu and DPP to intimidate the bishops was futile up until he died in April 2012.
Many Catholics and Malawians in general say they are ready to join PAC on December 13 to ask for electoral reforms and transformative leadership from Mutharika and his DPP.