There was drama in the Malawi National Assembly Thursday when a Member of Parliament refused to withdraw a statement he uttered and instead opted to storm out of the chamber in protest.
The controversial lawmaker from Thyolo Thava, Lifred Nawena, furiously walked out of the august House after refusing to take orders from the Second Deputy Speaker Juliana Mphande to withdraw his remarks deemed to have been demeaning the country’s leadership.
The issue started during question time when lawmaker for Mulanje Patsani, Peter Nowa, asked the Minister of Education, Eunice Kazembe, to construct a girls’ hostel at a secondary school in his constituency.
And in her response, the minister said plans were already in progress to construct the hostels at the said school and others but government’s plans were being frustrated by lack of resources.
The response did not satisfy Nawena’s ego who stood for a supplementary question to the minister.
The lawmaker, in his question, said since the country now has a female president and a female minister of education, he hoped construction of the hostels and other issues to do with women and girls would proceed with speed.
“The previous government was led by a male president and a male minister of education but now that the two are females I expect this matter to move with speed,” said Nawena, one of the most out outspoken politicians.
But his remarks did not again please the government benches and standing on point of order the Minister of Energy and Mining Dr Cassim Chilumpha told Nawena that questioning the conduct of the President during the proceedings was contrary to Standing Order 84.
This forced the Second Deputy Speaker to ask Nawena to withdraw his remarks describing them as gender biased a move also supported by the education minister but the Thyolo Thava lawmaker refused to withdraw and accused the government side of deliberately misinterpreting his point before storming out of the chamber.
Nawena said the Second Deputy Speaker and the two ministers of education and energy were deliberately distorting his question because his point was not bent on any ulterior motive.
“They understood my question as meaning now that we have a female president and female minister of education then things are not working because they are ladies.
“Let us be serious sometimes, I had asked the question very clear and the minister wakes up only to tell me to repeat the question. Is this how we should conduct the deliberations of the house?” asked Nawena
”The minister whom I respect highly [Dr Chilumpha] deliberately gave wrong interpretation to the House and quite strangely the chairperson [Second Deputy Speaker] also led in misinterpreting my question.
“So my walking out was just a matter of the government side and the speaker to conduct business in the House in a mature manner,” explained Nawena who was the first legislator in the then ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to openly dissent the dictatorial regime of late Bingu wa Mutharika barely a few months after winning the Thyolo parliamentary seat.
In February, the entire opposition legislators also walked out of Parliament in protest on what they termed as sarcasm and unparliamentarily language by former Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Margaret Roka Mauwa, who in her remarks used the word kukanyela meaning shitting in English.
The opposition member demanded the then junior minister to withdraw her remarks but she refused forcing them to storm out in protest.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :