Malawi Parliament was suspended in the morning of Tuesday for 30 minutes following a commotion which erupted after opposition legislators protested against Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa’s letter to Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara.
In the letter, Nankhumwa is accusing Gotani Hara of arrogance and bias towards the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the party that sponsored her into the 193-strong House.
But the opposition back-benchers, mainly the MCP legislators, said Nankhumwa flouted House procedures by writing Hara directly on any misgivings.
Lilongwe Msinja south MP Linson Belekanyama said Nankhumwa should have directed the matter to the Business Committee of parliament, the political leadership of the House.
As the tension flared, Dowa east MP Richard Chimwendo Banda said the Business Committee needed to meet to discuss the issue urgently and the committee met.
Nankhumwa, who is also Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, said Gotani Hara had already responded to the letter amid concerns that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) might be orchestrating her ouster from the position.
Nankhumwa’s letter to the Speaker follows an incident on Friday when member of Parliament (MP) for Blantyre City South East Sameer Suleman (Democratic Progressive Party) was suspended over misconduct in the House alongside Chimwendo Banda of MCP on Thursday.
But Nankhumwa claimed there was bias in the Speaker’s handling of Suleman’s case, adding that Chimwendo Banda was only suspended after DPP legislators protested.
The letter further describes the Speaker’s decision not to allow a motion for an extension of time to allow members debate on Acting Inspector General Duncan Mwapasa’s confirmation as being wrongly conceived.
On Friday, the Speaker pointed out that Standing Orders do not allow for an extension of time after going past sitting time which on this particular day is 12.30 pm.
Said Hara: “We have gone past our sitting day today. So, we cannot entertain any more motions.”
In her ruling on Thursday, the Speaker used Standing Order 105 (3) on Sanctions Against Disorderly Conduct which says that if a member is named, the Speaker may direct that he or she be suspended from the National Assembly for two sitting days from the time of suspension.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :