The Clerk of Parliament, Fiona Kalemba, has called on newly-elected Members of Parliament to put aside their different political backgrounds and ideas and concentrate on harnessing their varying skills and experiences for the common good of the country.
Kalemba was speaking on Monday, 10th June 2019 at the Bingu International Convention Centre during the opening ceremony of the orientation workshop for newly-elected Members of Parliament.
“The people of this country having voted you into office are looking forward to your service, and they have placed their faith in you to deliver for them,” she said.
The Clerk observed: “Malawians out there expect you to represent them. Your presence in the Chamber or committee rooms is, therefore, of paramount importance because this is where you will be expected to contribute and make decisions which will impact on the lives of those millions of people that have confidently voted for you”.
Speaking earlier, Margaret Patricia Curran, former Member of Parliament for the House of Commons and Scottish Parliament, asked the Members to be guardians of democracy and the voice of the people.
“Whether on tackling poverty, fighting climate change, managing Malawi’s tax revenues or dealing with regulation for business – you are their voice,” she advised.
The orientation has been organized against a background of a low retention rate of Member of Parliament. Of the 193 Members from the previous Parliament, only 64 have made it back to the House.
The orientation is aimed at providing the elected Honourable Members of Parliament, essential general information on Government operations and contemporary issues relevant to Members.
“The orientation will further provide a platform for Members to be introduced to appropriate parliamentary skills, practice and procedures which are required in the Chamber and in Committee work.
“However, for long term purposes, the Parliament of Malawi organizes the Parliamentary Training Program, to which every one of you will have the opportunity to be trained in depth,” Kalemba observed.
It is expected that after the training, the members will have knowledge and understanding in a number of areas including: House Procedures and Rules; how to conduct debates that will reflect the interest of all the people of Malawi; how to pass laws that should further the values of the Constitution, expressed or implied; and how to scrutinize the content and implementation of policies and actions of Government to promote accountability and transparency.
The training has been organized with financial and technical assistance from the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Democracy Works Foundation and African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) for the technical support.