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AD2: Malawians support a strong Parliament despite disappointment with representatives

Joseph J. Chunga 12 Sep 2014 Malawi
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Key findings
  • Support for parliamentary powers is strong: More than eight in 10 Malawians (84%) want Parliament to vet the president’s Cabinet appointments. About 60% say the president should regularly appear before Parliament to explain his actions. And threefourths (73%) say Parliament should have the power to make laws even if they go against the wishes of the president.
  • Approval ratings of MPs are low. Only three of 10 Malawians approve of the way their MPs perform their duties. Only 15% had contact with their MPs in the previous year to share their views or register some important problem. A majority (60%) feels that MPs never listen to what ordinary people have to say.
  • Three-quarters of Malawians (74%) say at least some parliamentarians are involved in corruption. Only half of Malawians trust the National Assembly, compared to 64% who trusted it in 2012. About half (48%) say that elections afford them a chance to punish officials who do not deliver on what the people want.

Malawians value Parliament’s legislative and oversight role but are highly critical of the performance of parliamentarians, according to the latest Afrobarometer survey.
Most citizens disapprove of how their Members of Parliament (MPs) have been doing their work and believe that their MPs do not listen to them. A significant proportion of MPs are perceived to be corrupt, and public trust in the National Assembly as an institution has waned. Malawians assert that it is the responsibility of voters to make sure that elected officials, including their MPs, do the work they are elected for, although they are divided as to whether elections enable them to fire non-performers. The findings clearly show that Malawians strongly support the institution of Parliament in the country’s political set-up but are calling on their MPs to serve them better.


Joseph Chunga

Joseph J. Chunga is the national investigator for Malawi.