President Peter Mutharika would be forced to answer questions in parliament should members of parliament pass a new standing order that compels presidents to do so on pertinent issues affecting the country.
This follows the proposal by the Legal Affairs Committe to suggest a day and duration of the Head of State’s appearance to enable the House’s Stanaing Orders to be consistent with the Republican Constitution.
The Constitution under Section 89 (4) , the President is required to appear in Parliament for questions time.
Chairman of Legal Affairs Committee of parliament Maxwell Thyolera said they introduced the new standing order 68 to bring President to the House for Question time on a Wednesday “at least once in each meeting of the Assembly or by a resolution of the House..
Thyolera said a maximum of five questions would be taken in each sitting day.
“The question time for the President would be one hour 30 minutes,” Thyolela said.
Extension of question time shall not be permitted , according to the Standing Order 68 (5 and 6).
However, five supplementary questions on the original questions will be allowed but “will not be used to introduce matters not included in the original answer to the questions,”
Unlike the session when Cabinet Ministers answer questions from legislators, the President would enjoy “a modicum of respect” and protection, the new standing orders stipulates.
Currently, the standing orders allows a sitting president to delegate to his ministers during parliament’s question time on Wednesdays.
Mutharika delegated twice to the Leader of the House to answer questions mostly filed by Leader of Opposition in parliament Lazarus Chakwera.
Former president Bakili Muluzi faced the then Leader of Opposition Gwanda Chakuamba in an exciting and historic question time in the 1990s.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :