The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has reacted to the decision taken by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) — which has issued a notice in the august House demanding the removal of its chairperson, Shadrick Namalomba.
In its statement on Friday, October 15, issued by Administrative Secretary, Francis Mphepo, the DPP describes the action by the 13 PAC members who signed the notice as “baseless political opportunism and abuse of process by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP)”.
However, there was no mention of the MCP in the PAC members notice, which they said was done in pursuant to Standing Order 172 (2), and the decision to impeach Namalomba has been done after his alleged “display of serious misconduct and misbehaviour, which has been occasioned by his inability to provide objective leadership as anticipated by Standing Order 171 (4) (c)”.
In the statement, the DPP says the “action by the MCP is nothing but political opportunism anchored on nothing but a misguided misunderstanding of how democracy works, including the institutions that are supposed to guard that democracy”.
“Hon. Namalomba’s sin, according to the MCP, is that ‘he is conflicted’ following the statement the DPP issued on the ACB’s political persecution of the party president, His Excellency, President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika.”
In their notice, the PAC members accuse Namalomba of issuing a statement in defence of former President Mutharika concerning a matter which is under investigation by the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
The members construe the said statement issued by Namalomba “as having serious potential to undermine PCA’s mandate in its future oversight dealings with the ACB in the matters of public finances as well as conflict of interest”, unless Namalomba is removed as its chairperson.
The DPP contends that Namalomba issued the statement not as his own but that representing the Party, saying “his role and duty as the party’s mouthpiece are to draft, sign, and release the party statements as guided by the party”.
“To claim that the DPP statements personally belong to Hon. Namalomba is nothing but political opportunism,” the DPP goes further. “The action that the MCP wants to take against Hon. Namalomba has no legal basis whatsoever.
“It will open up dangerous precedence using Parliament as a battlefield of party political rivalry. The MCP is welcome to engage and debate the DPP as a party in public political platforms, that is a healthy democracy.”
The DPP goes further to engage the MCP — and not the PAC members themselves — that singling out Namalomba “is nothing but cheap politicking. It has been characteristic of the MCP and its government”.
“When they fail to win the debate or engagement, they use intimidatory tactics of sending law enforcement agencies to arrest the dissenting voices. Now we see them importing that poisonous tendency into Parliament. That is not the democracy we fought for. Never!
“Parliament must not be used as a battleground for settling political scores, but as an institution to advance democracy and develop Malawi. There is no conflict in the dual role that Hon. Namalomba holds.
“And, he is not the only MP who holds dual positions in the party and Parliament. Holding dual roles has never impeded any of the members of the House to discharge their elected duties.”
The DPP singles out some members of the august House who hold dual roles such as the Speaker, Catherine Gotani Hara who is also deputy secretary general of the MCP; Minister of Homeland Security, Richard Chimwendo who is Leader of Government Business in Parliament and a director of youth for the MCP; Eisenhower Mkaka who is Minister of Foreign Affairs and MCP secretary general and Deputy Speaker Madalitso Kazombo, who leads campaigns for MCP candidates during by-elections.
“As the DPP, we have always respected the tenets of democracy, and the separation of party and parliamentary roles. If the MCP forces the DPP’s hand and we are forced to retaliate, we will retaliate viciously.
“The open political fights in Parliament are, unfortunately, going to push Parliament to degenerate into an institution of chaos.
“We call on the MCP to withdraw its baseless action against our Spokesperson and MP, Hon Namalomba. Hon Namalomba has done nothing wrong, except executing a duty and political instruction from his party, duly elected and duly represented in Parliament.”
The DPP signs off by accusing PAC’s decision as an “action by the MCP to censor and stifle dissent [which] is a clear signal that we are slowly heading into dictatorship and a one-party state”.
“The DPP is not going to watch our democracy get butchered in the altar of political convenience by the MCP. We will defend our hard-fought democracy with every fibre of our being, including this action by the MCP.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :