Firebrand human rights watchdog, the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), has given Speaker of Parliament, Catherine Gotani Hara, and her clerk, Fiona Kalemba, 48 hours to tell the nation on the circumstances that facilitated or led to the smuggling of the Loan Authorisation Bill Number 22 of 2021 into the National Assembly.
CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa argues that Hara and Kalemba are key tackling questions surrounding what has become to be known as the ‘mysterious Bill’.
Namiwa makes the sentiments in a statement issued today. He says the silence of Kalemba and Hara on the matter is creating an impression that the fired Executive Assistant and Special Advisor on Church and Religious Affairs, Pastor Martin Thom, and the Ministry of Finance’s Acting Director of Debt and Aid, Nations Msowoya, smuggled the Bill without the help of officials from Parliament.
“And this can only be possible in the ‘Mission Impossible’ kind of movies! Isn’t this an insult on the intelligence of Malawians?” wonders Namiwa.
“CDEDI, and indeed all Malawians of good will, are deeply shocked with the deafening silence from the Clerk of Parliament Madam Fiona Kalemba the only person authorized by law to bring bills before the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Leader of the House and the Leader of opposition for deliberation before they appear on the order paper. The clerk is also responsible for gazetting of the bills in the Government Gazette. Therefore, all the critical questions surrounding the mysterious bill can ably be handled by Madam Kalemba,” he says.
Namiwa emphasizes that since all the loans, which the government secures through processes such as loan authorization bills, are paid back through taxpayers money and as such, any decision to secure loans, therefore, ought to be made in the best interest of all Malawians.
The CDEDI boss has appealed to President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to act decisively on the matter, by instituting an independent committee to investigate the scandal within 30 days.
Namiwa further warns Chakwera to treat the matter with the seriousness it deserves, fearing any excuses could put his [the President] job on the line.
“Any smokescreen attempts on this issue, will not only dent the already buttered image of the Tonse Alliance Partners, but result into a catastrophe, as citizens will be forced to act,” he warns.
Hara has not yet given her reaction to the demand.