Dedza East member of Parliament (MP) Juliana Lunguzi (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) on Friday hit back at Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi, accusing him of having “shallow thoughts” and campaiging to demonise her after she criticised government over the Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme, popularly known as Cement and Malata (iron sheets) subsidy.
Muluzi strongly criticised Lunguzi on Thursday in Parliament after the MCP lawmaker raised concerns about the economic cost and benefits of the initiative, the Malata and Cement subsidy, a brainchild of the Peter Mutharika administration, saying Lunguzi is the only MP opposing the programme in the House.
But Lunguzi told parliament that she was appalled with the way Muluzi handled the issue, taking it personal.
“Mr Speaker Sir, the honourable minister is busy going around in the media telling people that all 192 MPs are supportive of the cement subsidy except Dedza East. It is unacceptable and misleading,” said Lunguzi.
“My statement still stands. I was saying as a country, we have food crisis in our hospitals, shortage of medicines, and increased fees in secondary schools. We are better off not focusing on consumption activities for our budget as opposed to production,” she said.
Lunguzi continued to say Muluzi is welcome to go to Dedza East constituency so he can “shelve his shallow thoughts” in the whole process.
Muluzi, who was in the House at the time, ignored the MP on the matter, but several MCP MPs supported Lunguzi with the party Chief Whip Robin Lowe saying Muluzi was “totally out of order” to indicate to the nation that 192 Members are for the Malata Cement Subsidy programme.
“Unless you asked us who is ready for that, but you did not ask us. You just indicated only one constituency. It is either the issue is political in nature or personal enmity between the Honourable Minister [Muluzi] and the Honourable Member [Lunguzi],” said Lowe.
But United Democartic Front (UDF) MP for Mangochi South, Lilian Patel expressed concerned with Lunguzi’s choice of words against Muluzi.
“We need to respect each other and we have to choose our words carefully. I heard the Honourable Member for Dedza East in her statement, she said, the Honourable Minister should choose his shallow thoughts carefully. What does shallow thoughts mean? This indicates that the Honourable Minister is not capable of delivering anything sensible in this House. Can we please choose proper words to be used in this House? Thank you, Mr Speaker, Sir,” said Patel.
Speaker Richard Msowoya said he did not hear that remark “shallow thoughts.”
The Speaker that ordered Lunguzi to substitute “shallow thoughts” with any better word , saying is unparliamentary.
But Lunguzi gave conditions before withdrawing.
“I will try to substitute ‘shallow thoughts’ with unpalatable and possible, Mr Speaker Sir, I will withdraw unless he [Muluzi] withdraws what he had said, I am not kanthiti [skinny or anorexia],” said Lunguzi.
Speaker, who is also MCP vice-president, curtailed debate on the matter and urged the House to concentrate on serious issues.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :