Parliament moves on protected names

Parliament has adopted a report on the Protected Flag, Emblems and Names Amendment Bill.

According to Chairperson for the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee Peter Dimba, the amendment is aimed at repealing sedition-related offences on the Bill.

He said: “This amendment is actually consequential to what we did when we also amended the Penal Code where we repealed sedition.

“So what we are doing today was actually to deal with sedition-related offences in other statutes, in this case the Protected Flag, Emblems and Names (Amendment) was also actually having some elements of sedition, the name of the President was actually protected as well.”

Dimba added that the Bill is significant in accordance with tenets of a democratic dispensation.

“This is something massive and great, it has never happened before, because this sedition law should have been repealed longtime ago, probably when we chose to have multiparty democracy,” he said.

Dimba has however stressed that such rights and freedoms need to be practiced with responsibilities.

He pleaded: “But I would to stress that despite the constitution guaranteeing freedom of expression and expression, we need to acknowledge as Malawians that every right comes with responsibilities.”

Reacting to the development, government Chief Whip Jacob Hara said the move is a demonstration of President Lazarus Chakwera’s pledge of trimming presidential powers.

“What we have seen today is a demonstration of what the President has always said that he will be doing and today we have seen him reducing his powers by removing his name from the protected names,” he stressed.

The principal objective of the Bill is to affect a consequential amendment to the Protected Flag, Emblems and Names Act (Cap. 18:03) in order to decriminalize sedition related offences.

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