15 March 2019

Malawi: Mwenifumbo for Federal System of Government - 'Malawi Can Learn From South Africa'

United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential running mate Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo has said the country requires to adopt a federal system of government mirrored like that of South Africa to enhance equitable distribution of development nationwide.

Mwenifumbo: We need a federal system of government like South Africa

Mwenifumbo, a Karonga Central legislator of Alliance for Democracy (Aford), was picked by UDF president Atupele Austin Muluzi to be his running mate in the presidential race due on May 21 2019.

Speaking during a live television debate, an initiative of privately-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), at Chichiri International Conference Centre widely known as Comesa Hall in Blantyre, Mwenifumbo said Muluzi has given him a copy of the party manifesto and has added in his input.

A federal system of government has been an issue advanced by Aford and mostly people from the Northern Region who feel marginalised.

Mwenifumbo said he believed the federal system as is the case in other countries like South Africa could effectively work in Malawi because the country is under democracy and follows multiparty system of government.

Of course, the initial submission of UDF's running-mate on the introduction of federal system of government seemed to suggest some confusion with the current decentralisation.

However, Mwenifumbo was able to stand his ground on the proposal along the way by making it more clearer which showed that he understand what he was talking about.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) running mate Sidik Mia reaction to federal system may have somehow signified that he has little knowledge about what a federal system is.

Governance expert and commentator Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that Mia's perception of the federal system may certainly be shared by many Malawians who may have misunderstood as secession where one or two regions of Malawi decides to no longer be part of Malawi by forming their own independent country.

"However, in my view this is another proposal that needs a sober national discourse. Otherwise, I am of the strong view that the calls for Federal system of government are largely due to the failure of the implementation of decentralisation in Malawi as envisaged by the Constitution, the Local Government Act and Decentralisation Policy," Munthali stated.

"All governments since 1994 have shown no political will to make decentralisation work. Perhaps we need to fix decentralisation problem first. But if we cannot fix it then certainly Federal System of government can be one of the several options which Malawians can consider as they move into the future," he said.

Munthali said the ultimate drive in such a discourse should be national development.

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