Known for his high-sounding English phrases, Minister of Information and Communication Technology Nicholous Dausi stood on a point of order in Parliament, not concerned over use of unparliamentary words but what he called misplaced pronouns and adjectives by Lilongwe South member of Parliament (MP) Peter Dimba(Malawi Congress Party-MCP).
Dimba in his remarks called Malawi a “kakistocracy” – a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens.
Dimba accused Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of going around the cities promising a lot of things and laying foundation stones here and there.
He said: “ We have so many kleptomaniacs in the system, what happens is that these people just take care of their bellies. They do not consider our country. As long as everything is okay with them, that is alright. Those that are supposed to make major decisions for us to move forward as a country, to transform our economy are okay when their pockets are okay. They do not love this country that is the challenge we have.”
Rising on a point of order, Dausi with his long-winded style aid Dimba was “erroneously” using adjectives and misplaced pronoun.
“ For example, I think he has mediocratically lied that the laid stones are going through metamorphosis. Is it in order that metamorphosis is a process which a stone can go through? Secondly, he said we are in an autocracy. I think when you read some words in English, sometimes it is better to use them properly because it has shown that you are not only an ignoramus but you do not know what you are doing,” Dausi said.
Mulanje Bale MP Victor Musowa (DPP) also stood to say an extension on the use of adjectives sometimes is insulting.
Musowa said Dimba used used an objectionable word ‘kleptomaniac’.
“I just want to have your indulgence, is it parliamentary? The term kleptomaniac, Mr Speaker, Sir, I think the Honourable Member know I am a little academician and I have done my papers well. I have done my research and I can define it,” Musowa said.
This prompted Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya to observe that the members themselves should observe self restrain on using objectionable words .
“ I found that word, kleptomaniac, to be making some sort of an inference. Because he talked of systems, it could be this legislature, because we are part of government. It could the Executive or Judiciary. These are arms of government. And I thought that word is not proper because when I look at the legislature, probably we cannot be, define ourselves in that way nor do I look at any other government arm, system of running government that can be actually termed as kleptomaniac,” said the Speaker.
He asked Dimba to consider substituting it with a better word, saying “kleptomaniac,” will be struck off the Hansard—the official record of proceedings in the National Assembly.
But Dimba was adamant, saying the term ‘kleptomaniac’, in the dictionary means ‘a money hungry individual’ that is what it means.
“Let us check in the dictionary. When the Minister of Information rose, he said I talked about autocracy. I said kakistocracy not autocracy. But I can understand. He probably does not understand the term that I used,” said Dimba.
But the Speaker said the word ‘kleptomaniac’, means is somebody with the habitual urge to stealing.
“So, what I am saying, in the system of government, ourselves here as part of the system, do we have an urge to be stealing? Alright, if that is so, if this legislature believes so, so be it. But I thought that was a little bit on the other side,” he said.
Also standing on point of order, Mzimba West parliamentarian Harry Mkandawire queried Dausi for using term “lying” wondering if it is a parliamentary language.
In his ruling, the Speaker said that ‘lying’ has been ruled as unparliamentary language in the past and asked Dausi to rephrase to be diplomatic.
But Dausi insisted whether it is in order for Dimba to use an unparliamentary word ‘kleptomaniac’.
The Speaker ruled that the words ‘lying’ and ‘kleptomaniac’ will be taken out in the Hansard.
“ I think when one wants to use the word ‘lying’ diplomatically we say, ‘you are being economical with the truth’ or something like that. Those are the words that you can use as civilised honourable members …,” said Msowoya.
Observers said lawmakers would have to take a class over use of unparliamentary words.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :