Malawi Parliament trashes PRO comments

The National Assembly has trashed comments given by its spokesperson Ian Mwenye on the reasons for the cancellation of Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee scheduled from January 28 to February 1 2013.

Mwenye told Weekend Nation of January 26 2013 that the cancellation of the meeting was due to administrative reasons. This was contained in a story titled “Agriculture Committee Chair suspicious of meeting cancellation”.

But incensed with the Mwenye’s response, the National Assembly issued a statement trashing the spokesperson, saying the cancellation was because there was no funding.

“The truth of the matter is the fact that the views to cancel the meetings were being made because the National Assembly had not received funding for the committee meetings which were due to be held from 28th January to 1st February 2013, namely the Committee on
Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Women Caucus and ACP-EU and not because of administrative reasons,” reads the statement signed by deputy Clerk of Parliament Henry Njolomole.

Speaker Chimunthu Banda: Cited injuctions as impediment:
Speaker Chimunthu Banda: Cited injuctions as impediment:

Njolomole said  funds were now made available and the meetings were taking place as scheduled.

Nyasa Times findings are that Mwenye gave the right reason for the cancellation because the Speaker of the National Assembly, Henry Chimunthu Banda and his team did not want the committee to meet because of the thorny issues which include the Farm Input Subsidy Programme, the maize in the silos which is being depleted each day and the scarcity of maize in Admarc markets.

“They did not want the committee to meet. The money was there. Why was it that other committees met already? You mean there was no money only for this committee? Mind you, there were lots of meetings behind scenes when an announcement was made that meeting was cancelled.“The Speaker had to ask the Vice President on the wayforward for the meeting when he received pressure from committee members who demanded that the meeting take place,’” said a member of the committee on Agriculture.

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