Malawi Parliament continue to be saddled with absenteeism and lateness of legislatures in the chamber despite Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya warning that the Business Committee—which comprises the leadership of political parties on both sides of the House—have made the resolution to forfeit allowances from absconders .
Members of Parliament (MPs) get K40 000 per day as subsistence allowance and K10 000 sitting allowance which is paid out before the meeting starts.
Absenteeism has become herculean challenge the House is grappling with.
Speaker Msowoya pointed out that absenteeism was denting the image of Parliament in the eyes of the public and having a negative effect on businesses on the floor of the august house.
“In view of this observation, the Committee of Chairs supported by the leaders of political parties represented in the Business Committee, resolved that with immediate effect, the office should recover the allowances from members who do not attend the plenary and committee meetings without leave of absence or without valid reasons as required by Standing Order 41,” said the Speaker
Standing Orders 41 (3) states: “A member who is absent without seeking leave of absence shall forfeit all allowances during the period of absence.”
The Speaker can grant leave of absence, according to Standing Orders 206 (3), on the two grounds of illness or family emergency to enable an MP attend to public business locally or abroad.
But MP’s continue to abscond meetings and also coming late to the chamber.
And some MPs present in the house do not contribute anything and spent most of the time dozing as long as they claim sitting allowances.
The seat of an MP can only be vacated if the member is absent without leave from the Speaker for three successive meetings of the assembly, according to Standing Order 206 (4).