Party manifestos’ link toMW2063 under scrutiny

Party manifestos’ link toMW2063 under scrutiny

The requirement for political parties to align their manifestos with the country’s long-term development strategy, the Malawi 2063 (MW2063) has come under scrutiny over enforcement of its implementation.

The Political Parties Amendment Act of 2022 mandates the National Planning Commission (NPC) to enforce the implementation of the winning party’s manifesto after the 2025 General Election.

President Lazarus Chakwera unveils the MCP manifesto
ahead of 2019 Tripartite Elections

Prior to the elections, NPC is also expected to certify manifestos for political parties to ensure that they are aligned to the MW2063 with all parties due for registration also bound to comply.

In an interview yesterday, NPC public relations and communications manager Thom Khanje said one of the reasons political party manifestos are now expected to align to the MW2063 and have the same certified by NPC is to ensure that future budgets are investment-oriented as outlined in the national vision.

He said: “It is time the country starts to focus on production and investment. That is the only way the country will achieve self-reliance economically.

“Continued dominance of consumption in our budgets will make us a donor-dependent country forever.”

Khanje said parties have until January 22 2025 to submit their manifestos for review and certification ahead of receipt of nomination papers for presidential candidates by the Malawi Electoral Commission for the September 2025 polls.

He further said so far, all the political parties have agreed to the arrangement and will be bringing their manifestos for review and certification in due course.

Thus far, according to him, the commission has received manifestos from four political parties, three of which have had their manifestos successfully reviewed and certified as aligned to the Malawi 2063 national vision.

These are Liberation for Economic Freedom, National Development Party and Muviwachilungamo Revolutionary Party.

“One political party just submitted and the review process of its manifesto is currently underway,” said Khanje.

But political experts yesterday said the practicality to implement such manifestos could be threatened by the country’s consumption-based national budgets that usually succumb to the desires of politicians.

Speaking in separate interviews, political analysts Wonderful Mkhutche and Ernest Thindwa said aligning the manifestos to MW2063 was one thing, but implementation was another.

They argued that the bitter reality was that what the country needs are politicians who are committed to their promises as the NPC does not have the ability to make politicians comply.

Said Mkhutche: “There is no difference whether they certify the manifestos or not. In our political and developmental experience, manifestos are only an election tool which is easily abandoned when a party gets to power. The future of this country does not lie on how good a manifesto is, but on how committed the leaders are to achieving goals.”

Thindwa said while enforcing the alignment of manifestos to the MW2063 may be actualised owing to the force of the law NPC may enjoy, the commission lacks both the legal basis and political authority to shape outcomes of the national budget discussions in Parliament and implementation of the approved budget.

However, Youth and Society executive director Charles Kajoloweka said the mandate to follow up on what political parties or independent presidential candidates have committed in the manifestos lies with Malawians.

“The social contract is between the elected and the electorate.  Governance institutions like YAS will be critical in taking to task any party or candidate that will veer off on what it promised.

“This will complement the engagements that NPC will be having with the prospective government,” he said.

The amended Section 12A of the Political Parties Act indicates that the NPC shall issue a certificate of compliance where it is satisfied that a manifesto is aligned to the national development agenda. It also states that the commission shall give a party 21 days to submit a complaint where it finds that the submitted document is not aligned to the MW2063.

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