Malawi opposition flexes muscle again in Parliament

Opposition parliamentarians in Malawi on Monday had time to flex their numerical muscles again at President Joyce Banda’s government when they refused to curtail the debate on the midterm budget statement when government moved the motion.

The opposition are now in majority after they were joined by the UDF at the start of this meeting.

Deputy leader of the House, Anita Kalinde moved a motion curtail debate on the mid-term budget statement and have the Malawi’s Finance Minister Dr Ken Lipenga give his winding speech.

Then Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda put the motion to a vote, it was received with a deafening ‘no’ from the opposition benches after the government side’s ‘weak’ yes vote, which clearly showed how depleted the side is, in terms of numbers.

Opposition benches successfully shot down a government motion to curtail debate on mid-term budget
Opposition benches successfully shot down a government motion to curtail debate on mid-term budget

“The nos have it and the motion is defeated,” Chimunthu Banda said.

“This means debate will continue,” said the Speaker who also asked leader of the House, Henry Dama Phoya “isn’t that your interpretation leader of the house?”

Phoya responded: “You have correctly interpreted what has transpired. It was quite clear that the rejection of the curtailment came from the other side (opposition).”

The Speaker then said: “The no vote simply means that debate continue on the statement as delivered by honourable minister of finance on mid-term budget review, as therefore the floor is open.”

The debate continued.

The previous sitting of the National Assembly saw MPs shot down the government’s preferred choice of Auditor General, Andy Kuligomba.

Members of Parliament (MPs) are pushing government to implement the 500 litres a month each fuel allowances as agreed upon in 2008. They also want the allowances to be paid in arrears dating back to 2009.

The government side has seen its numbers dwindle since the House was opened on February 8, because several MPs have jumped ship and gone back to their parties. Most of the MPs leaving are from the former ruling DPP.

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