The chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament, Peter Chakwantha, has accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government of bulldozing parliament in passing the Marriage Divorce and Family Relation Bill.
Chakwatha who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Lilongwe south west express resentment the way the Bill which was tabled by minister of gender Patricia Kaliati was passed.
He said government flouted the newly adopted standing orders which, among others, stipulate that a bill passes through his committee before proceeding for debate in National Assembly.
“The way the bill was presented and the manner in which debate on it was moderated leaves some of us feeling short changed,” said Chakwatha, as quoted in the local press.
“There has been a lot of marathons and manoeuvres which is uncalled for in this day and age,” he added.
The new standing orders provide that the first point of call for bills-government or private member is the clerk of parliament who then refers it to the relevant committee in this case it is the Legal Affairs.
According to Chakwatha, a lawyer by training, the parliamentary procedure was flouted in passing the bill, which he pointed out has “some ridiculous and imported elements” that his committee needed to look into before it came to the whole house for debate.
He accused the DPP government of having the tendency of “waiving standing orders to accommodate their inefficiency and shortcuts.”