Speaker says Mutharika’s Sona on video link ‘perfectly acceptable’ amidst Covid-19

Malawi Parliament was nearly thrown into turmoil on the first day of its National Budget meeting Friday morning as opposition legislators demanded the presence of President Peter Mutharika in performing the State-opening of the new session.

MCP’s Chimwendo Banda protesting Mutharika’s virtual address .-Photo by Govati Nyirenda, Mana
Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara: Its perfectly acceptable

Mutharika  addressed the House through a recorded  message on a video link as a preventive measure of the raging coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Leader of Opposition Lobin Lowe standing on a point of order  told the House that it was unconstitutional for the President to be absent from the House when he was supposed to present the State of the Nation Address (Sona).

“Constitutionally there is an obligation for the President to present Sona in the House,” said Lowe.

“My worry is we may end up setting a bad precedent,” he added.

Dowa East member of Parliament (MP) Richard Chimwendo-Banda (Malawi Congress Party-MCP)  stood up, querring if the life of the President was more important than that of the members of parliament.

This was after Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa asked the House to waive all standing orders to allow the President read the Sona through recorded video.

But Speaker Catherane Gotani Hara said Health experts advised parliament that Mutharika should not be in the House because the Chamber is not well ventilated and can be a catalyst for covid-19 as the Head of State moves with a large entourage.

Gotani Hara said while there are Constitutional requirements for the President to address the house physically, the Covid-19 situation requires new measures to allow the House to hold some meetings virtually, “its perfectly acceptable.”

Mutharika warned Malawians not to take Covid-19 lightly as it is a killer pandemic devasting the whole world.

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Wakwithu
Wakwithu
9 months ago

So the health experts advised the Speaker that APM would breath his last if he physically delivered the SONA…. okay?
The caretaker president is as good as dead…osatipusitsa apa.

Nzika
Nzika
9 months ago

That’s what others say working from home

Fiti
Fiti
9 months ago

Opposition is shocked to realise there is nobody to hear their insults

Government Whip
Government Whip
9 months ago

The other option was to have the President live address from The National Assembly and Members of Parliment viewing virtually from other areas of throughout Parliment to encourage social distancing.

Zangaphe
9 months ago

mbuli za mcp kumango lubwa liubwa chilichonse. Mec should set date for elections, ayi! parliament should set date ,Ayi! the election was not rigged, but u lost, ayi, kulila ngati ana.Today its this. zitsilu basi

The Patriot
9 months ago

Munachalira kumukuwa to gain political mileage. Mwagwa nayo aperemende Inu.

Mbanje Legalised
Mbanje Legalised
9 months ago

Mbuzi izi. Last time you walked out. Why do you need his presence today?

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