Leader of Government Business in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa has said that Malawi ought to find means of looking after the welfare of former Members of Parliament (MPs) in recognition of their contribution to the development of the country.
Nankhumwa made the proposal when he delivered his ‘discontinuance speech’ in Parliament on Friday, October 11, 2019 at the end of the 2019/2020 Budget Session.
“It is not a secret that the economic status of most of our former MPs is not good. I would like to make a humble submission that as a nation, we must seriously explore ways and means of looking after the welfare of former MPs, particularly those that served for more than one term.
“I am aware that we may not have the resources to adequately finance such a programme but I wish to submit that it is only fair to recognize the contribution that former MPs made towards the political, social and economic development of our nation and reward them accordingly,” said Nankhumwa, attracting a deafening applause from both sides of the House.
Nankhumwa also made another suggestion relating to the status of the Speaker of Parliament, noting that Speakers in Malawi do not enjoy the same reputational status as that of Speakers in other countries.
“In Malawi, and indeed in other countries, the Speaker of Parliament is the head of the second arm of government, which is the Legislature. It is a very senior position in terms of ranking and running of the whole government machinery,” said the Leader of the House.
He proposed that Malawians must ascribe a higher status to the position of Speaker of Parliament “than we are doing now”.
On the passing of the K1.7 trillion national budget, Nankhumwa expressed appreciation to MPs “for yet again rising above party politics to authorize government to spend financial resources on various social and economic services, which are aimed at uplifting people’s livelihoods”.
“I wish to congratulate the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Honourable Joseph Mwanamveka for presenting a comprehensive maiden national budget before this august House that meets the aspirations of all Malawians.
“This national budget is in line with the larger DPP government’s national development agenda, which is being implemented under the able and visionary leadership of His Excellency President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika,” he said.
Nankhumwa, who is also Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, noted that despite passing the national budget, the just-ended sitting was marred by disagreements over parliamentary procedures, resulting in serious tension between government and opposition members.
“Let me register my reservations over the manner in which the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) frustrated transaction of some important government business, notably the confirmation of Mr. Duncan Mwapasa as Inspector General of Police.
“It is disturbing to note that MCP went a step further to obtain a court injunction to prevent the House from confirming Mr. Duncan Mwapasa as Inspector General of Police.
“It is deeply upsetting to watch MPs deliberately politicizing important national business, which derails progress,” said Nankhumwa, advising MPs to “ensure that this 48th Session of Parliament, led by you, Madam Speaker, goes down in history as the most productive and successful in its legislative, representation and oversight duties.
He said MPs must avoid politicizing important national business in the House “because such conduct poses short as well as long term risks to the integrity of Parliament”.
“Together, let us raise the bar of debate for the sake of our own individual reputation and that of Parliament,” he said.
Nankhumwa also faulted MCP for appointing an ‘Interim’ Leader of Opposition, arguing that the position does not exist in the Standing Orders governing Parliament in Malawi.
“MCP appointed Honourable Lobin Lowe as ‘Interim’ Leader of Opposition in June soon after elections. I would want to urge MCP to put their house in order and appoint a permanent Leader of Opposition instead of playing hide and seek,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :