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Malawi Brief (4): Meeting with the Speaker of Parliament
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
February 12, 2013

Our Zimbabwe civil society delegation just met the Rt. Hon. Henry F. Chimuntu Banda, the Speaker of the Malawi National Assembly, at the Parliament building in Lilongwe. The Honourable Speaker of the Malawi National Assembly lamented the lack of certainty on political processes in Zimbabwe. He gave an example of Malawi where the country knows there will be elections on 19 May 2014, with the President only able to constitutionally postpone the date by one week. The Speaker raised fears saying that, 'considering the events that have happened in the past [in Zimbabwe], uncertainty is a matter of concern to all of us. We are a SADC family.' The Speaker further emphasised that, 'you want an electoral process that will bring a credible process' in relation to Zimbabwe's forthcoming election.

We then delivered our message to the Honorable Speaker. Specifically we asked the Speaker to use his influence to build consensus in Malawi on the need for Parliament to provide checks and balances to ensure that the country continues to play its role, as SADC Deputy Chair, to influence the regional bloc to:

  • Monitor and observe the Zimbabwe constitutional referendum so as to measure the preparedness of Zimbabwe to hold a peaceful, free and fair election
  • Call for an extraordinary SADC summit on the Zimbabwe Election that will adopt an election road-map in alignment with the anticipated constitution, specific code of conduct for the military during the election, media conduct among other key reforms
  • Deploy long-term observers to Zimbabwe once the dates for the election are announced
  • Assist Zimbabwe to have a peaceful transfer of state power from the current government to whoever wins and for SADC to maintain its monitoring role post-election until there is stability
  • Demand an immediate end to arbitrary arrests and the political persecution of civil society activists in Zimbabwe which has been on the rise in the past months.

Following our discussions, the Rt. Hon. Henry F. Chimuntu organised a meeting with the Foreign Affairs Parliamentary committee which we will meet tomorrow for a more detailed discussion that will result in a report on Zimbabwe being tabled in Parliament. The Honorable Speaker also committed to talk to The President, Her Excellency, Madam Joyce Banda, on demands that relate to the Executive such as the need to call for an Extraordinary SADC summit that will discuss the forthcoming Zimbabwe Election.

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