Legislators sitting on government benches in parliament, including cabinet ministers on Thursday morning cheered and patted each other on the back following a narrow win in a parliamentary vote.
The win might not have been of great significance and bearing but it is greatly symbolic to government which is in minority in parliament even after adding Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) back benchers.
Speaker Richard Msowoya moved a motion to find out whether question time should continue or parliamentarians tackle government bills after opposition MPs protested government decision to table the bills on private members day.
Lilongwe South-West member of Parliament (MP) Peter Chakhwantha (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) was set to table a Private Member’s Bill that seeks to trim presidential powers in the appointment of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) top brass.
After the vote was put, the opposition got 73 votes against 76 from the government, thanks to some independent legislators who sided with the government.
Opposition Mzimba Hora MP Christopher Mzomera Ngwira also sided with the government, the second in just a week prompting legislators and cabinet ministers give him a standing ovation.
Ngwira was booted out of Peoples Party (PP) following his political moves to oust Uladi Mussa as acting leader of PP in favour of former vice President Khumbo Kachali.
Meanwhile, government is reportedly offering independent MPs and others from the opposition monetary and other rewards if they vote against the Bill, which is appearing as Corrupt Practices (Amendment) Act, 2016 and appears as P.M.B number one of 2016 on the Order Paper, which seeks to amend sections 5 and 7 of the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA) to enhance the independence of the operations of the ACB.
The Bill proposes that Section 5 (1) of the CPA which reads that “the President shall, on such terms and conditions as he thinks fit, appoint the director” should be deleted and be replaced with “the director shall be appointed by the Public Appointments Committee on such conditions as the committee shall think fit”.
Chakhwantha proposes an additional Section 5(3) which outlines that the director of ACB would be appointed after the committee calls for nominations from the public through an advert placed by the Clerk of Parliament.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu argued that powers of the President to appoint were entrenched in the Constitution and the Public Appointments Committee to provide checks and balances in the work of ACB.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :