Leader of government business in Parliament, Kondwani Nankhumwa has stressed that members of parliament must always strive to ensure that their interests and aspirations are at the centre of all the business in the House.
Nankhumwa said he will not relent on the noble responsibility to remind all MPs that “we are representatives of the people and our conduct when transacting parliamentary business must always reflect this higher responsibility. “
He said legislatures – who carry the title of honourable – “must always be exemplary.”
Leader of the House comments comes after in his discontinuance speech, expressed dissatisfaction over what he described as ‘unprofessional’ conduct by Members of Parliament duringt e Mid-Year Budget Review meeting nt which came to an end on Friday, February 28 2020.
The development let to Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) to suspended Blantyre City South legislator Sameer Suleman of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for attacking Parliament’s sergeant-at-arms.
The commission, according to the communication made by Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara, also found deputy Transport Minister Charles Mchacha, member of Parliament (MP) for Thyolo West, guilty of misconduct and slapped him with a one-month suspension.
The two DPP legislators, Suleman and Mchacha, physically attacked the sergeant-at-arms in a bid to stop him from executing the Speaker’s order for them to leave the House.
A charged up Suleman, who was seen taking off his jacket in readiness for a fist fight, also threatened to beat journalists covering parliamentary proceedings.
Earlier in the week, Mchacha and Machinga Central East MP Daudi Chikwanje were suspended by Speaker for two days for gross indiscipline.
The disorder happened when the legislators started debating motions on Electoral Reforms Bills on February 20.
Nankhumwa said the sitting was characterized by “partisan interests as evidenced by the bulldozing of Bills in disregard to rules and regulations guiding transaction of parliamentary business.”
He said: “ There was clear biasness against government side by presiding chairs, particularly when we debated and voted on electoral reform Bills. This resulted in the loss of order and decorum; and hurling of insults and vulgar language amongst members. The lowest moment was when chaos degenerated into actual physical fights.”
Nankhumwa regretted the DPP legislators’ misconduct.
“I wish to reiterate that these incidents could not have happened if we had put national interests above personal and partisan interests; if we had followed standing orders to the letter and spirit, as well as rules and regulations guiding business in the august House.
“We are a House of Procedures, with Standing Orders firmly in place. It was totally unacceptable, therefore, for the opposition to bring back a defeated Bill through the backdoor; bypassing the Business Committee. It was totally uncalled for opposition to ambush the government side with Bills that were hitherto rejected by the House. Democracy is about pandering to the dictates of the majority,” he said.
Nankhumwa said DPP want to continue to enhance democratic governance in Malawi and “jealously preserve” the democratic gains made since 1993 by ensuring that Parliament carries out its representation, oversight and legislative duties without interference.
Meanwhile, Yusufu Nthenda, MP for Mulanje West, who was given marching orders but Mchacha wanted to defy the Speaker by blocking him from going out, has been suspended by PSC for one week.
The commission further found Foreign Affairs Minister Francis Kasaila, who is Nsanje Central MP, and Minister of Sports Francis Phiso, Blantyre North MP, guilty and reprimanded them.
This was one of the most controversial sitting as opposition legislators pushed for changes in the electoral laws, including the requirement that a presidential election winner must amass 50-plus-one percent of the total votes cast as ordered by the Constitution Court.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :