Kaliati, Kabwila trade barbs in Parliament

Outspoken Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Services, Patricia Kaliati and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) maverick spokeswoman Jessie Kabwila on Wednesday traded barbs over President Peter Mutharika’s cabinet hiring.

Kaliati, who is ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Member of Parliament for Mulanje West stood to react on scathing remarks made by People’s Party (PP) MP for Mzimba West, Harry Mkandawire who lashed at Mutharika on his appointment of ministers, saying it was based on regionalism and ethnicity favouritism.

She dismissed Mkandawire’s remarks as “unnecessary criticism”.

Kaliati: Quota system is there in cabinet with two full ministers and two deputies from north
Kaliati: Quota system is there in cabinet with two full ministers and two deputies from north

Kaliati said the opposition was pressing Mutharika to name his cabinet and that he has the cabinet they are making unfair criticism.

On regionalism claims, Kaliati said “the quota system Member of Mzimba West has been shown in this cabinet by the selection of four from the north and one from the centre.”

Kaliati ruffled the feathers of Kabwila when she said: “I remember Member of Salima North West (Kabwila) making noise that they do not eat weddings and that they want a cabinet. Now the President appoints the cabinet, it is not good enough?”

Kabwila rose to defend herself saying they asked for the cabinet did not mean that the President would just choose people anyhow.

“I believe after three weeks of being in office he ought to have shadow cabinet,” she said.

Kabwila said it was on duty to demand for cabinet, arguing the role of parliament is passing legislation, holding the government to account and representing constituents and addressing their grievances.

She said when bills are going through the House, MPs need government Ministers to firstly authorise access to information and resources that are held by the executive, as well as answer questions on the subject matter contained in those Bills. These functions cannot be performed at all if there are no Ministers in place.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Richard Msowoya, urged the party leaders to discipline their members against unnecessary point of orders.

The Speaker ruled that point of orders will only be entertained after a member has delivered his full contributions and should not be disturbed.

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