News / Africa

Pressure to Demand Term Limits for Malawi Parliament

Supporters of then-ruling United Democratic Front rallied for the 2004 national elections in Bagwe. Efforts to limit MPs to two five-year terms face heavy opposition in the National Assembly.
Supporters of then-ruling United Democratic Front rallied for the 2004 national elections in Bagwe. Efforts to limit MPs to two five-year terms face heavy opposition in the National Assembly.
Peter Clottey
Two civil society organizations have started a public campaign to establish term limits for the 193 members of Malawi’s National Assembly.

Currently, legislators can remain in parliament for as long as they win re-election to another five-year term in their constituencies.  Many have served for more than a decade. One member, 80-year-old John Tembo of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), has been in office since the nation gained independence four decades ago.

Proponents of term limits propose members serve a limit of two terms. The constitution mandates the president can serve only two five-year terms.

Political experts say, however, that the proposal is unlikely to succeed anytime soon because legislators will prevent any constitutional term limit amendment.

Make room for younger voices

“We know that parliamentarians have an interest on this issue,” said Voice Mhone, chairman of the Council for Non-Governmental Organizations in Malawi (CONGOMA).

“But we will be looking at an avenue whereby we are going to engage the citizens of Malawi and the citizens of Malawi should pass on the message to their parliamentarians,” he says.

The current lack of term limits for parliamentarians violates the principles of democracy and denies young people the chance to play a role in the way the country is governed, Mhone said. Term limits would encourage new ideas as well as encourage the youth to more fully participate in the country’s democracy.

Lister to VOA's Peter Clottey report on MP term limits
Lister to VOA's Peter Clottey report on MP term limitsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

CONGOMA has united with the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) to promote the issue among voters.

“So far, we have some members of parliament who have been there for more than 40 years, meaning more than 8 terms,” Mhone says. “It is an idea that is coming up so that we can marry this idea with the term limit that is given to the president.”
                                                                                                                             
Source of economic stagnation?

Mohne says there has been very limited social or economic growth in most constituencies whose incumbent parliamentarians have served for more than 10 years.

“We know that other people have new ideas and the passion to serve their country and transform their constituencies,” Mhone says. “But they cannot stand against the incumbent, and therefore we are saying we should give a chance to other people.”

Mhone also said term limits would help facilitate development in the constituencies because elected legislators would be more committed to progress.

“[The] young and poor aspirants can’t get into leadership positions like becoming MPs because the old and incumbent legislators use everything at their disposal to cling to power for life,” Mhone said.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid