Wanga Gwede –Nyasa Times
Outspoken Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua has once again expressed desire to grill President Peter Mutharika in parliament as part of accountability politics, saying the President should face His Excellency’s Question Time (HEQs) style-session soon after delivering a state opening of parliament.
Kalua said in parliament that holding the executive to account is one of the three responsibilities of parliament and that the President is supposed to answer questions under Section 89 (3) without need for Standing Order or motion when he is delivering the State-of- the-Nation Address.
“The Section is clear as to how this is going to be done. As soon as the President finishes giving the State-of-the-Nation Address and future policies, he is supposed to report on the previous year’s policies and also respond to the questions from the Members,” Kalua told parliament this week.
He added: “Section 89(3) is different from Section 89(4) because it deals with the issue of Parliament summoning the president to answer questions at any time. We feel that this Section 89(3) should be respected by the Head of State.”
Kalua some of the policies which Mutharika said in his SONA “were not clear when he was delivering them in this august House. So we wanted him to be here and answer some of the questions that we may have.”
Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya said the House lack procedure in Standing Order to regulate the coming in of the President to answer questions under that provision in the Constitution.
He said the Legal Affairs Committee has done some work on that requirement and that report will be presented to the House in due course.
“The office has made special arrangements for the Legal Affairs Committee to be meeting over the weekends to finalise the report which will be presented to the House. So, the question for someone or the President himself not respecting the laws does not arise,” the Speaker said.
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.
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 :