Shut up! Njobvuyalema tells Chilumpha in Malawi Parliament

A legislature for one of Malawi’s main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) on Tuesday told one of the country’s senior Cabinet Ministers to shut his mouth and stop unnecessarily commenting in the House on issues that involve other ministries and has little knowledge of.

The MCP parliamentarian for Lilongwe Mapuyu south Joseph Njobvuyalema, who is also the party’s Chief Whip in the House was incensed by Minister of Energy and Mining Cassim Chilumpha’s habit to try to clarify issues whenever a query arises in the House even when the issue does not involve his Ministry.

“It seems that the Honourable Minister has an itching of commenting on everything even on matters he has little knowledge of or at times on matters that he does not know at all,” said the visibly angry Njobvuyalema.

The issue came in as MCP spokesperson on Health Alex Chitete was responding to Lipenga on a loan authorisation bill in which Malawi wants to borrow US$8 million (almost K2.7 billion) for Nkhata Bay District Hospital.

Njobvuyalema: Hits on Chilumpha

Standing on a point of order, Chilumpha started quashing Chitete’s contribution to the Bill.

However, his remarks did not go down well with Njobvuyalema who also stood on a point of order and told Chilumpha in no uncertain terms to sometimes shut up and keep quite on issues and let responsible Ministers respond to contributions during debates.

He further said it was only a day before that the Minister irked Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga when he came in to comment and clarify issues raised during debate of another bill presented by Lipenga.

The MP went further to allege that Lipenga in fact told him in private that Chilumpha’s comments do not tally with the policies of some of the Ministries.

The reference to Lipenga attracted a protest from the Minister of Finance who demanded that the remarks be substantiated or that the MP should apologise.

Business was near derailed after a verbal attack among the three ensued in the House.

As Njobvuyalema was getting verbal shots from both Chilumpha and Lipenga, and sensing that the issue could not be resolved within the chamber the second Deputy Speaker Jones Chingola ruled later that during the tea break the three have to meet in his office to discuss the matter.

After tea break Njobvuyalema was forced to withdraw the statement on Lipenga but did not barge in  on the accusations against Chilumpha.

“I really made some remarks which did not please the Minister of Finance and I withdraw the statement that the Minister of Finance did complain to me about the Minister of Energy,” said Njobvuyalema.

However, the withdrawal still did not amuse Chilumpha.

He said: “I find it unfortunate that the Honourable Member who is also MCP Chief whip, decided that he only withdraws the remarks on the Minister of Finance.”

But Njobvuyalema stuck to his gun and refused to apologise to the Cabinet Minister.

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