September 28, 2021

Passed Labour Relations Amendment Act Earns MCTU Protests

The Malawi Congress of Trade Union [MCTU], an umbrella body of 26 workers affiliates, will on Thursday lead workers in, both private and public institutions, holding countrywide demonstrations to force President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera not to assent to the newly passed Labour Relations Amendment Act into law.

Parliament passed the controversial Labour Relations Amendment Act in a dramatic scene where 101 Parliamentarians voted Yes, 55 voted NO while 36 were not in the house and these were DPP Members of Parliament who walked out of Parliament in protest of the bill in solidarity with Malawians that are against the passing of the bill.

The Deputy Minister of Labour, Hon. Vera Kamtukule MP told the house that the bill was widely consulted for it to be debated, a thing which is the opposite of the truth.

Mzimba North Legislator, Yeremia Chihana, Rumphi East, Kamlepo Kalua and UDF Spokesperson in the National Assembly, Lilian Patel protested heavily on the passing of the bill describing it as oppressing Malawians not to exercise their democratic right as enshrined in the Republican Constitution.

Many people are of the view that the Tonse Alliance Government is making the very same mistakes as that of the DPP making Malawians not to see the difference between Tonse and DPP as they have common features; oppressing Malawians, corruption and bribery and looting of public resources.

DPP introduced the Labour Relations Amendment Act in 2018 with a specific hidden agenda of blocking the 2019 disputed elections that saw tippex found its way into the polling centres to declare former President Professor Peter Mutharika the winner with thanks to MEC Chairperson Justice Dr. Jane Ansah SC and Mec Commissioners for celebrating his victory.

The Tonse Alliance Government is following the footsteps of the DPP as it hears a knock in the heart of its Alliance partners of unrealistic promises, skyrocketing of commodity prices, indecisiveness, corruption and bribery blanketing the nation, State House scandals which have gone without probe, and many, are enough to hold demonstrations of sharing their grievances and concerns.

The UNIMA UTM Wing, also reacted angrily on the passing of the bill requested President Dr. Chakwera not to assent the bill into law, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation [CHRR] also added its salt to the controversial passed bill as not in line with the wishes and aspirations of Malawians arguing that it was the same demonstrations that ushered Chakwera-Chilima presidency into government.

On Sunday, MCTU held an emergency general council meeting in Blantyre where it resolved to stage countrywide demonstrations against the just passed Labour Relations Amendment Act arguing that Government did not consult anyone and if any was consulted, then, its members of the Alliance partners and not the stakeholders.

Its Secretary General, Madalitso Njolomole, said the MCTU will go to court to seek a stay away as a clear demonstration that it is siding with Malawians saying Malawi is a democratic country where oppressive laws are a thing of yesterday, Malawians have had enough time to watch the bad laws passed in their eyes but this time, NO,

“…We will petition President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera not to assent to the bill into law, workers were not fully and widely consulted that Government would table the bill in the National Assembly, we are not in support of the bill…,’’ said Njolomole.

Meanwhile, various human and labour rights organizations and institutions of higher learning are behind supporting the Malawi Congress of Trade Union [MCTU] demonstrations on Thursday, the first demonstrations to be staged by MCTU in 12 months of the Tonse Alliance Government’s Malawi wokomela tonse.   

By Vincent Gunde

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