Second Deputy Speaker Clement Chiwaya angered lawmakers mostly from the opposition, over his way of handling the proceeding of the House in rather a harsh way.
The MPs accused the deputy speaker of being undemocratic.
It started when member for parliament for Zomba Changalume, Johns Chikalimba (People’s Party –PP) stood on a point of order when Chiwaya allowed another MP to come up with a supplementary question before the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (Hon. Dr Allan Chiyembekeza had responded to the issues he had raised.
“Mr Second Deputy Speaker, after the budget has passed, I think it would have been the direction of the government together with the opposition to work in this House under one common goal. When issues are raised, the idea is that we should address them. It is not that we are just arguing for the sake of arguments. We are raising issues so that together we should [address them],” said Chikalimba.
But Chiwaya said: “Honourable Member, you stood on a point of order and I gave you the floor. In the first instance you also stood on a point of order and that point of order you raised did not request me to make a ruling. You actually said it is out of order. You had ruled it yourself, what did you expect me to do? “
Chikalimba said he expected the Minister to respond.
The second deputy speaker asked Chikalimba to resume his seat.
But Chikalimba said:” It is not that we just raise issues for the sake of raising them but to come up with answers to solve the problems.”
Chiwaya responded: “But that is exactly what I am saying. If you want me to make a ruling on something then you have to ask me. I am not going to make a ruling if you don’t ask me. (That is the procedure.”
The statement prompted Chikalimba to express his disappointment with the deputy speaker’s conduct.
“Mr Second Deputy Speaker, I think you have a very different approach today. This is not the way you behaved in the past days. All other presiding offers have not behaved in that manner,” said Chikalimba.
Chiwaya defended himself: “No, I am not going to repeat mistakes that other people have made in the past. I am going to guide the House according to the rules and Standing Orders of the House. That you have to understand. If some people made mistakes in the past, I am not going to be part and parcel of that. “
The second deputy speaker’s comment triggered another reaction from MP for Mzimba West, Harry Mkandawire who stood on a point of order.
“I am actually shocked, dumb founded and flabbergasted by the way you, Honourable Second Deputy Speaker, are handling points of order,” protested Mkandawire.
But as Mkandawire was speaking, Chiwaya cued in: “Honourable Member, before you continue, you are reflecting on the Chair and that is not accepted. Honourable Member, that is not acceptable. Let me explain a fact that has to be appreciated by everyone. When you rise on a point of order, you are asking me whether it is in order for a particular Member to say something, then I have to make a ruling. If you stand and say, it is out of order, you are asking me whether it is in order for a particular member to say something. Then I have to make a ruling. If you stand and say, it is out of order, you are telling me, and then what do you expect me to do? “
Then Mkandawire expressed the concerns against Chiwaya’s conduct.
“We are not happy the way you are handling this side of the House. You might as well tell us where you belong today,” said Mkandawire.
Chiwaya responded: “The reason why you are not happy with the way I am handling the House is because you are not following the procedures.”
Mkandawire reacted:” No, the Honourable Member for Rumphi East (Kamlepo Kalua) touched an issue affecting 14 million Malawians here. What could be more out of order than saying people are starving out there, including people of your constituency, Honourable Second Deputy Speaker, Sir?
The Second Deputy Speaker then said: “If you have a problem, you know the right procedure is to come up with a motion. “
Nkhata Bay Central MP Ralph Mhone (PP) also stood on a point of order to express his “disappointment” with Chiwaya’s conduct.
Chiwaya, however, asked Mhone to “follow the procedures.”
“It is not a point of order when you start expressing your concern,” said the second deputy speaker.
Mhone rephrased his statement:” Okay, let me say that it is out of order for the chairs of this august House not to be following our Standing Orders. I will give two examples. [Monday], the clerks including the Government Chief Whip misled the House and therefore the Speaker not to debate the supplementary bill contrary to Standing Order 46.”
Chiwaya told Mhone: “We had exhausted that issue. Why is it coming now? When you stand on a point of order, you are supposed to mention an anomaly that has taken place.”
The Nkhata Bay Central MP explained: “I am giving an example of what was out of order. [Monday], we were out of order by the table clerks and the Government Chief Whip misleading the Chair who was the Speaker that we could not debate the supplementary bill by not following Standing Order 46. Today, you are saying, you cannot rule on a point of order. This is contrary to Standing Order No. 96 which is here.”
The Second Deputy Speaker said the MPs have to ask him e to rule a point of order.
Mhone pointed out that Standing Order No. 96 say, that if somebody stands on a point of order, it is the duty of the Chair to rule whether that member is out of order or not.
“You cannot say you have to be asked. The Standing Order says, you must rule. That is what the Standing Order says,” said Mhone.
Chiwaya said he was not supposed to engage in a debate with the lawmaker.
“You know the procedures; you know the Standing Orders and that should be enough for you to understand the proceedings that we conduct in this House. Thank you.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :