Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Dedza East MP Juliana Lunguzi faulted Mulanje South MP Bon Kalindo (Democratic Progressive Party-DPP for joking over President Peter Mutharika’s 25-minute address delivered on Friday, saying it was a serious matter.
Kalindo, who is also a comedian alias Winiko, brought laughter to the House when he suggested that the President’s speech was short because he was being considerate to the MPs as the House is “too hot”.
He said Mutharika’s opening address to the 46th session of Parliament “was indeed the shortest one but with facts of national importance. “
Said Kalindo: “ Mr Speaker, Sir, there is a big difference between a 44 minute speech which was empty and a 24 minute speech with facts of national interest. Mr Speaker, Sir, this shows that we have a President who is able and who knows what to say at what time.
“ Mr Speaker, Sir, you can agree with me that this is summer time and mostly the weather is hot. And it pleased the President of this country who is very educated to provide a speech which lasted 24 minutes because he knew that it is hot in here and many would fall asleep as it is happening there. So, there is no way we should make long speeches when it is hot. I need to thank the President for that.”
But Lunguzi standing on a point of order, argued that Kalindo’s were an insult to ordinary Malawians struggling in the face of economic hardships.
“This House is air conditioned. It is an insult to the people who manage here to say that it was hot. We need to be serious. People are looking at us. There is hunger; there is poverty in this country. Can we be serious for once?” remarked Lunguzi.
Speaker Richard Msowoya said : “My ruling is very simple. Yes, it is indeed sustained on the point that this room is air conditioned but that does not mean that a Member cannot feel hot if himself is not feeling well.”
Meanwhile, there was confusion among MPs on whether the President’s 25-minute speech was a State of the Nation Address (Sona).
Government Chief Whip Henry Mussa said the speech was not a Sona but an address at the opening of new parliamentary year.
But deputy leader of People’s Party (PP) in Parliament Ralph Jooma pointed out that Parliament’s order papers continue to indicate that the President delivered a Sona in the House.
“Whether this is a State of The Nation Address or just a statement, since yesterday [Tuesday] we have been told this is not a State of the Nation Address, yet on the order paper it has been indicating that as MPs we are responding to the President’s State of the Nation Address. Nobody has disputed that. The issue is that we have had a State of the Nation Address which is lacking in detail,” said Jooma.
Nkhata Bay Central MP Ralph Mhone (PP), a lawyer by profession, said the President was supposed to deliver a Sona.
“When the President comes to the budget session, he comes as an attendee and we can question him as stipulated by law, and the other one is when he comes in to open a session of Parliament where he presides over the House and we cannot ask him questions,” Mhone said.
Speaker said while the matter was debatable, it was distracting the attention of the House from the actual responses to the speech.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :