Calls for government to allow members of parliament debate in vernacular Chichewa are growing louder after a video clip circulating in social media platforms show a young legislator Fyness Magonjwa speaking in grammatically incorrect English.
The 25-year-old, the youngest of the members of Parliament elected on May 21 in the 2019-2024 cohort , from Machinga South East Constituency was giving an interview to the national broadaster MBC after an official handover ceremony of a bridge from a contractor to her community.
A transcript of Magonjwa’s interview can loosely be like this; “They are walking towards to travel at the same bridge. So the way the bridge has started to maintain we are not to take it for granted because we have been waiting for 15 years it wasn’t easy.
“We can just say thank for the leader of Professor Peter Mutharika the way they have handled this world, the way they are making their aaaa what can we say….”
The interview has gone viral in social media platforms with some people telling her to consider going back to school while others saying her lack of English proficiency does not mean she is not intelligent enough to handle parliamentary business.
Magonjwa attended both primary and secondary school in Mangochi. She is currently studying for an advanced diploma in public health.
Dowa east MP Richard Chimwendo Banda says he will introduce a motion in parliament to allow the legislators either debate in Chichewa or English.
“Chichewa should be made official language too apart from English. Language should not be a barrier for the members of parliament to participate freely in parliamentary business in the House,” said Chimwendo Banda.
But lawyer Justin Dzonzi says allowing members of parliament to debate in Chichewa in the House would be difficult because all the laws are written in English.
“Introducing Chichewa will not help matters. We need to have members of parliament who can speak, write and understand English,” said Dzonzi.
The Republican Constitution says a person shall not be qualified to be nominated or elected a member of parliament unless he or she is able to speak and read English language well enough to take active part in the proceedings of parliament.
Magonjwa defeated seven other aspirants and according to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), she amassed 8 108 out of the 30 497 votes cast.
Magonjwa is affiliated to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
A firstborn in a family of four children, Magonjwa grew up in Machinga, experiencing first-hand the challenges faced by the rural Malawians she will represent for the next five years.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :