Political vultures in parliament are hovering over the head of Leader of the House George Chaponda who was on Monday absent from parliament, heightening speculation that he is honouring a High Court order which suspended him as Agriculture minister.
Several opposition parliamentarians, including Peoples Party (PP) leader Uladi Mussa and Salima north west Jessie Kabwila asked Speaker Richard Msowoya to announce in the House that Chaponda is officially suspended from the House following the court order.
The opposition members of parliament asked Msowoya how the House will proceed with government business in the absence of Leader of the House.
Peoples Party Leader in the House Uladi Mussa said it was an anomaly that business was going on before the appointment of a new Leader of the House.
The issue however nearly threw the House in disarray as opposition and government MPs exchanged barbs.
Blantyre north MP Francis Phiso said Kabwila had no moral grounds to scorn Chaponda when herself was answering a court case and is on bail.
The firebrand Kabwila however hit back, saying if that was the case then President Peter Mutharika and some of his cabinet members; Goodall Gondwe, Patricia Kaliati, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Henry Mussa, Bright Msaka and Jean Kalirani who were charged with treason.
However, Msowoya told the House that parliamentary standing orders are clear that in the absence of the Leader of the House, the deputy Leader of the House shall take over.
The Speaker therefore said he recognises Kondwani Nankhumwa.
“In the absence of communication from the court and from the government, I recognise the deputy leader as Leader of the House until such a time when the Leader of the House shall return to the House,” he said.
He said in the absence of official communication on the suspension of Chaponda, he cannot act.
“As a citizen of this country, I am following issues happening in this country, but this is the House of records, I can’t take what newspapers are publishing or what radios are announcing,” he said.
However, it. transpired that the House has no standing orders that recognise deputy leader of the House or deputy chief whip.
Msowoya therefore said the issue would be tabled at Business Committee meeting on Wednesday.
The legislators also questioned why the House was transacting business when the Business Committee had not met.
Business started at 2pm on Monday with minister of Education presenting a ministerial statement to the House on the status of education in the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :