Activist goofs on ‘occupy’ vigil, Speaker summons Chiza

The organiser of the planned vigil against Members of Parliament, planned for Monday, 5th December, 2011 to Friday 9th December, 2010, expressing dissatisfaction against the increase of salaries for the Members of Palriament , did not follow procedures laid down in the laws of Malawi, Nyasa Times understands.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Henry Chimunthu Banda, MP, also announced that the planned vigil was premature since at this stage, the MPs just submitted a proposal, which will be considered by other bodies, and, if possible, to the President who has the final say.

According to the law pertaining to MPs salaries, the authority to determine salaries and benefits for Mps is given to the President, and not the Mps themselves. So what was on the floor were just proposals. He said that Mr Mkandawire’s efforts were therefore premature since the issue has not been finalised yet.

Government spokeswoman Patricia Kaliati earler told Nyasa Timesthat the President is not going to approve the proposal to raise the pay package for MPs from K390 000 ($2 335) to K1 million ($5 988) per month.

Speaker Chimunthu Banda: Summons Chiza Mkandawire

Nyasa Times journalist who attended Parliament on Monday was informed that Chiza Mkandawire was advised that under the Police Act no. 14 of 2009, all assemblies and demonstrations within the precincts of any building which is being used as Parliament, a State Residence or a court, or at an open air within a radius of 100 meters from such building, are prohobited unless authorized by the Speaker, the President, or the Chief Justice, as the case may be.

Disregarding this law, the organiser, Chiza Mkandawire, notified the offce of the Clerk of Parliament, and not the Speaker, of their intention, which letter was just treated as ordinary mail by the National Assembly.

The National Assembly secretariat sent Mkandawire back to his books and informed him that his notice was “irregular” and “unlawful.”

It is apparent, according to parliamentary officials, Mkandawire acted against the law. Whether he did not know the law regarding such demonstration is yet to be established.

The official said Mkandawire goofed in his effort to lead Malawians in a demonstration that has no legal backing.

“This is a lesson to both Mr Mkandawire and all relevant officials that before engaging in any actions, they should have time to read and consult on applicable procedures, otherwise the public will be given a raw deal. In my view, he has goofed!”

And the Speaker told parliament that on Wednesday December 1, he met officials from the Public affairs Committee, the Malawi Congress of Trade Union and the Council for Non Governmental Organisations (Congoma) to whom he explained exactly what was going on at parliament.

During the meeting, he said, the issue of salaries was explained.

Meawhile, Speaker of Parliament has summoned ‘occupy’ organiser Chiza Mkandawire for talks on Tuesday.

Mkandawire confirmed ; he tweeted: “I have been invited to the house of Parliament by Speaker of the House Chimunthu Banda tomorrow (Tuesday December 6).”

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