Speaker Hara says separation of powers conference to help in discussing critical issues

Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara says the first ever national separation of powers conference presents an opportunity to discuss critical issues affecting the three arms of government specifically for the nation.
Hara was speaking during the opening of the National Separation of Powers Conference held in Lilongwe on Monday under the theme: Separation of Powers: A Development Catalyst or Hindrance?

Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara described Seperation of Powers conference as important to discuss critical issues
“The holding of the conference demonstrates that while each of the three branches of Government are independent, checks and balances in each branch by the other branches, are necessary for a properly functioning democracy,” she said.
Hara said there have been a number of important developments that touch on the separation of powers. For the Legislature, the most significant development has been the enactment of Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2021 and Parliamentary Service Act, 2021.
According to her the enactment of the two pieces of legislation (also known as “Parliamentary Autonomy” legislation), is the culmination of a process which started in 2016, when a motion on the independence or autonomy of Parliament was adopted by the House.
Broadly, the Motion sought a resolution of the House to put in place necessary steps to ensure that Parliament is in control of its affairs, she said.
Hara further said the Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2021 gives Parliament more control over its affairs by among others, providing for the laying before the Assembly, a Calendar of the Meetings of Parliament at the beginning of each Session.
Additionally, “the oversight function of Parliament has now been explicitly provided for in the Constitution.”
She said Parliamentary Service and the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) which were previously in the now repealed Parliamentary Service Act, are now creatures of the Constitution as is the case with similar bodies such as the Judicial Service Commission and Civil Service Commission which were already in the Constitution.
While the enactment of these two pieces of legislation is historic and a step in the right direction, Hara said, the Legislature recognizes that it does not work in isolation.
“The three branches of Government are interlinked and yet separate, or dare I say, independent, at the same time. While the Executive is charged with initiating policies and legislation, and implementing legislation; the Legislature is responsible for enacting legislation. The Judiciary on the other hand is charged with interpreting, protecting and enforcing that enacted legislation in accordance with sections 7, 8 and 9 of the Constitution.
Hara said:” As branches of government, we need to be frequently engaging in these uncomfortable but very necessary conversations.”
She said the conference is therefore an opportunity to take a collective assessment of the issues relating to the practical application of the principle of separation of powers as a cornerstone of a vibrant and robust democratic dispensation.
The Legislature considers separation of powers as a catalyst to development.
 In a functioning democracy where the separate yet interlinked arms of government are properly discharging their functions without undue encroachment or interference, the ultimate beneficiary is the nation, she said.
 It is through such arrangements that all of us will significantly contribute towards the attainment of our long term national aspirations as enshrined in the Malawi 2063,” she observed.
The transformation of our economy to a middle income status, as stipulated in the Malawi Implementation Plan 1, heavily relies on our governance structure, adding that the principle of separation of powers can be a catalyst for development if we focus on making the three arms of government independent but inter-related.
This is a commitment that needs to be lived by all three arms of Government at all times, Hara said.
In her earlier remarks, Chairperson for the conference Anabel Mtalimanja said the conference provides an opportunity for dialogue among the three arms of government.
The conference entails that three arms of government, the executive, legislature and the judiciary should not interfere but work independently.

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