Leader of the House, Kondwani Nankhumwa, has taken a swipe at the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) legislators for their “lack of respect for the Head of State” as displayed when President Peter Mutharika presented the State of the Nation Address (SONA), suggesting that the oldest party has “hypocritical” stand on the May 21 election results.
Nankhumwa was presenting his ‘Discontinuance Address’ as Parliament closed ‘Sine Die’ on Friday, July 12, 2019.
MCP MPs caused mayhem in the House on June 21 as they attempted to prevent President Mutharika from delivering his SONA, claiming they did not recognize him as Head of State following the disputed presidential results after the May 21 polls.
Nankhumwa said he held “strong misgiving” and disappointment with the conduct of legislators from MCP to heckle President Mutharika as he delivered the SONA and to walk out of Parliament afterwards.
“This was certainly uncalled for. You displayed lack of respect for the Head of State, who is also head of the Executive branch of government. This conduct smacked of hypocrisy of the highest order on the part of MCP because, surely, esteemed members cannot claim that the same process is okay when it elected them and faulty when it did not elect their President.
“Madam Speaker, the members who protested and walked away that day are in this august House because they were elected through the same process that also elected President Mutharika and all members present here. It is through the same process that others also lost the elections because that is the very essence of democracy; some win and some lose,” reasoned Nankhumwa, attracting applause from government and independent MP benches.
Nankhumwa, who is also Minsiter of Agriculture, noted that it was “ironical, therefore”, to think that the process can only begin to be faulty where one’s leader has failed to garner substantial support to win the presidency, arguing that type of selective justice ought to be condemned “because it is counter-productive and smacks of hypocrisy”.
“The same members that claim not to recognize President Mutharika are preparing questions and asking the very ministers who were appointed by the same President they call illegitimate. Is this not illogical and a waste of precious time?
“I would like to urge these Honourable members to reconsider this line of thinking because it simply does not make sense,” said the Mulanje Central legislator.
He said he was saying all this to drive a point home that some sixty (60) years from today, Malawi might have an opposition President at the helm of Government power.
“If that time comes, would they like their leader to be disrespected like that by throwing all sorts of insults and name calling? The answer is No,” he said.
He also condemned attempts by MCP Mps to force members to discuss and debate the fate of Chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission Jane Ansah, saying this was “unwarranted and against the standing orders, which prevent members from discussing people that are not in this House and may not be able to defend themselves”.
On a reconciliatory note, Nankhumwa thanked the MPs for the spirit of patriotism from the time the 48th Session of Parliament commenced.
“I want to believe that the spirit of cooperation that reigned here especially during the final days of our sitting is an indication of how this House will conduct business in the coming sessions,” he said.
He thanked President Mutharika, for delivering “a deeper and forward looking SONA, which helped set the stage for the financial and economic plan, which will affect our people for the next 12 months”.
“I also wish to congratulate Honourable Joseph Mwanamveka, Minister of Finance, for ably presenting a Five Hundred and Eleven Billion, Two Hundred and Sixty Nine Million, Five Hundred Twenty Two Thousand, Seven Hundred Ninety Four Kwacha, provisional Mid-term Budget to the august House.
“Similarly, I would also like to congratulate Honourable members for passing this budget, which will help meet expenditure necessary to carry out government services from 1st July to 31st October, 2019 until an appropriate Act is in place,” said Nankhumwa.
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