Malawi Govt bemoans opposition ‘boycott’ in Parliament

Malawi government has bemoaned the tendency by opposition members of parliament of staying away from parliamentary sessions.

Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara expressed concern that opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) were boycotting Parliamentary deliberations.

“Mr. Speaker, Sir, something has gone terribly wrong for the DPP Members of Parliament to boycott Parliament without any sufficient reason,” he said.

Kasambara demanded “an explanation” from DPP on their “boycott”.

Ralph Kasambara: DPP boycotting parliament
Ralph Kasambara: DPP boycotting parliament

But Speaker of Parliament, Henry Chimunthu Banda responded:  “Honourable Minister of Justice, I see a jacket at the far end over there, that may give hope that, at least, one may come back either to collect the jacket or indeed to continue with the sitting.”

Kasambara chipped in: “Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is actually a scarf; it has been there for last four days.”

He added: “It is a black scarf, I am sure it has been forgotten, maybe for the last four days.”

The Speaker commented: “Let’s hope it will be remembered this time around.  Honourable Members, it is indeed strange, quite strange, but since we have just started, let’s hope the situation will improve.”

And on Tuesday Leader of the House in parliament, Henry Phoya said opposition lawmakers were absent on the day that they will be presenting their questions in the House.

Phoya made the reaction after noting that majority of MPs whose questions were appearing on the Order Paper on Tuesday morning were not present in the House during the question and answer session when Ministers had their answers ready.

Out of 19 questions which were on the Order Paper, 12 were not answered as their owners were not around, a thing which got Phoya to be incensed and told the Deputy Speaker, Jones Chingola to address the problem.

“Honourable Deputy Speaker, I’m shocked with the number of MPs who have their questions on the Order Paper, but are not present here in the House. Ministers go to great lengths to have answers to these questions and it is a mockery if the owners chose not to show up,” said Phoya.

The Deputy Speaker shared Phoya’s sentiments and reminded the MPs to ensure that they attend the sessions every time more especially when they have their questions on the Order Paper. – (Additional reporting by Brian Itaye, Mana)

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