Thom Chiumia – Nyasa Times
Minister of Informatio, communication, technology and civic education Patricia Kaliati on Thursday hit out at opposition lawmaker form Rumphi East (Peoples Party –PP) Kamlepo Kalua for insisting to have President Peter Mutharika to face legislatures and respond to questions in person in the National Assembly.
Kalua told parliament that he would like to engage the President directly in the House and allow other MPs to grill the Head of State.
But Kaliati told Nyasa Times in an interview from London on Thursday that Kalua’s demand is not warranted.
“Why is he insisting on President to come and answer questions when there ministers everyday answering questions in parliament. We have 193 members in parliament, the President communicates to the whole population as he is busy addressing development rallies to engage the public,” said Kaliati.
She said it is “absurd” that Kalua keep on insisting to have Mutharika in the House for presidential question-time session when previous Heads of State were not quizzed.
Section 89(4) of the Constitution requires the President to appear before Parliament and answer questions “at such times as may be prescribed by the Standing Orders of Parliament or a motion.”
Since the adoption of the democratic Constitution after the dawn of plural politics through a 1993 National Referendum, only former president Bakili Muluzi fulfilled the provision and twice answered MPs’ questions in Parliament.
But Kaliati, who is official government spokesperson, said Kalua should start by calling immediate former president Joyce Banda to appear before parliament to answer questions.
“Let him summon former president Joyce Banda wherever she is to come to parliament and lets grill her on her two year tenure if Kamlepo indeed believes in accountability,” Kaliati told Nyasa Times in London where she is on brief visit.
Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya said the House lack procedure in Standing Order to regulate the coming in of the President to answer questions under that provision in the Constitution.
He said the Legal Affairs Committee has done some work on that requirement and that report will be presented to the House in due course.
“The office has made special arrangements for the Legal Affairs Committee to be meeting over the weekends to finalise the report which will be presented to the House. So, the question for someone or the President himself not respecting the laws does not arise,” the Speaker said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :