US govt presses Malawi govt on local polls
The United States government has implored government to make the right decision on whether to hold tripartite elections or hold local polls which haven't been held since the year 2000.
Speaking on the sidelines of a donation of viral load testing machines at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe on Tuesday, US Embassy Charge d' affaire Lisa Vickers said it was the hope of her government that the Malawian Parliament would make a decision best for Malawians and the country.
Tripartite elections cannot take place in Malawi unless Parliament passes bill no. 4 to amend the Constitution to reflect that local government elections would be held alongside parliamentary and presidential polls in 18 months.
"As the US government we certainly are hoping that the Malawi people and the Malawian Parliament make a decision they feel that is best for this country. Tripartite elections were proposed as a solution," Vickers said.
Vickers added that she hoped the people would be happy and support the decision the government will reach on whether to hold the local government elections.
"Tripartite elections were proposed as a solution for when local elections were not held in 2005, it has been a long time since there has been local elections," Vickers said.
MPs are expected to discuss the Legal Affairs Committee's report on the Tripartite Elections bill at the next sitting slated for November.
She however promised US government support in increasing the number of women participating in elections, and elected to Parliament to move from the current 42 out of 193 MPs.
"If number of women in Parliament increases, it's an excellent sign for women and people of Malawi. If we have a Parliament that has a 50- 50 representation, then the whole population is represented," she said.
US government's support towards elections comes in the form of small women empowerment projects and alongside development partners on voter and civic education.