Review electoral laws – Speaker

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Malawi will keep struggling to achieve democratic inclusiveness if it does not review its electoral system of first past the post used in all elections, Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda has said.

Chimunthu highlighted this as a barrier to democratic inclusiveness when he reflected on the theme of this year’s International Day of Democracy saying it is what has failed the country in, among others, achieving both the 30 percent and later 50 percent women representation in decision making positions.

“It is high time that we started looking at our electoral laws if we are to have enough representation from women, the youths and the disabled, among others,” said Chimunthu at Bumba primary school in Rumphi

“Our heads of state and governments in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) agreed a long time ago on 30 percent women representation in decision making positions and later revised that figure to 50 percent.

“If you ask me, Malawi is at the bottom in the Sadc region. I doubt if our colleagues who achieved such representation did so using the first past the post system we are using.”

He said countries like Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa have gone beyond the first past the post system and used a combination with proportional representation and have since seen women, youths and the disabled, among others, being represented.

This year’s International Day of Democracy was commemorated under the theme ‘Dialogue and Inclusiveness – Central to Democracy.’

Chimunthu Banda said the theme offered an opportunity for Parliament to interact with “people who send representatives there.”

“If we cling to the first past the post system we will have a long way to go to reach the target whereby the youths, women and the disabled may be represented accordingly because we might find those with money dominating all the way,” said Chimunthu Banda.

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