Outspoken Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua has renewed calls to grill President Peter Mutharika in parliament as part of accountability politics, saying he should oblige to the constitutional requirement.
Kalua told parliament that Mutharika should face His Excellency’s Question Time (HEQs) style-session of food situation and Malawi situation since holding the executive to account is one of the three responsibilities of parliament.
“According to Section 89 (4) of the Constitution which says ‘the President can appear before Parliament every Wednesday. This is backed up by Standing Orders 70 and 201. Can’t we, as a House, now ask the President, through you, Mr Speaker, Sir, for him to appear on a Wednesday to answer some of these questions as these are very important questions to the country?
“ Is it possible for the President to come here in person and answer some of the questions that are directed to him as Head of State and Government of the Republic of Malawi? ,” said Kalua.
Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya said President Mutharika has never indicated to say he cannot come to Parliament.
“But there are conditions that our own Standing Orders and the Constitution have laid down for the President to come to this House. Firstly, he can come to answer questions which I have not seen you Honourable Members asking the President to come here to answer questions.
“Secondly, after delivering the State-of-the-Nation Address, the President can come to the House when there are questions for him to answer. Thirdly, he can also come to the House on a motion which will be carried by this House. None of those situations are available at the moment. Yet you are rising on a point of order to say, through the Speaker, you want to call the President. I will be calling him to do what? You are out of order,” said Speaker to Kalua
Kalua asked the Speaker to move a motion summoning Mutharika tfor question time grilling to be led by leader of opposition and MCP president Lazarous Chakwera.
Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale is on record saying Parliament should draft the agenda of the President answering questions from the lawmakers if it was necessary and invite the Head of State.
According to Section 89 (3) of the Constitution, the President is required to submit himself before Parliament without necessarily being invited by anyone as he does with the State of the Nation Address.
The call for HEQs have received backing from the civil society with Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) executive director Timothy Mtambo and rights campaigner Billy Mayaya, saying Mutharika should appear before Parliament.
Malawian professor of law based at the University of Cape Town, Danwood Chirwa, clarified that the President does not have to be called by Parliament to answer questions posed by MPs for the HEQs.
Chirwa said the President “is constitutionally obliged to appear before Parliament every year, immediately before the consideration of the budget, to do [the said] three related things.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :