Leader of Government Business in Parliament, Kondwani Nankhumwa, says President Peter Mutharika and his governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are committed to an expedited process of ensuring the independence and autonomy of Parliament.
“His Excellency the President (Mutharika) has always reminded us about the need to attain parliamentary autonomy. Parliament must be free to operate freely, independent from the Executive arm of government’s interference, especially with regard to funding and administration,” Nankhumwa told Nyasa Times in an interview on Friday.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Ntchisi North, Boniface Kadzamira tabled a motion pushing for parliamentary independence, which the House adopted In February 2016. This led to proposed amendments to the Parliamentary Service Act, National Assembly Emoluments Act and Public Finance Management Act, among others.
“I wish to commend all MPs for their valuable contribution towards promoting the autonomy of Parliament so that the house operates without avoidable legal bottlenecks.
“Parliament is an important arm of government with a critical role to play in the nexus of socio-political governance of this country. It is important, therefore, that this critical role is accorded the recognition that it deserves by all stakeholders and not downplayed,” said Nankhumwa.
He said that it is high time that decisions of Parliament are given the due and deserving respect and that other stakeholders respect its autonomy as the Legislature and a fully-fledged arm of government.
“In South Africa where democracy came at the same time like us, Parliament has overreaching powers to summon anyone including the President to answer and address issues of national concern without any recrimination or interference by other arms of government. This is due to the level of respect accorded to the House within the governance context of the nation.
“As much as our Parliament may have equal powers as our friends in South Africa and elsewhere, it is fair to concede that right now we do not command the same level of respect like our friends that side. This ought to be a matter of concern to all MPs as well as to all well-meaning Malawians who are equally concerned about the direction that our nascent democracy is taking,” he said.
Nankhumwa, who is also Local Government and Rural Development minister and MP for Mulanje Central, noted that as much as Parliament is not an island and must exist within the governance matrix of the nation, it is also important that its ability to function is not solely dependent on the decisions of the executive or other arms of the government.
He called upon all MPs “who will return to the august House next year” to remember that as much as they may have made commendable strides towards achieving the autonomy, the war has not been won yet.
Reflecting on his role as Leader of the House, Nankhumwa opined he was optimistic that he did not disappoint the President in the way he has executed his duties and responsibilities as Leader of the House.
He said as much as there have been many challenges, they are far outweighed by successes. Many important bills have been passed during his tenure and that he was proud to be associated with such important success, he said.
“When I was appointed, I committed myself to serving President Mutharika and the people with selfless honesty, loyalty, dedication and hard work, which I believe I have managed to accomplish,” he said, adding that he was hugely indebted “to my father-figure, His Excellency Mutharika for placing his confidence and trust in me and appointing me to this position”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :