There was an uproar in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon as member protested over a newspaper report that the House dispenses about 10 000 condoms every month.
The Nation newspaper quoted Parliament’s head of administration, Maggie Chinsinga after receiving on behalf of Parliament a donation of 206 000 condoms from Aids Health Foundation (AHF), that the condoms are used by members of Parliament (MPs) and visitors who access lavatories in the Parliament Building where they are strategically placed.
According to Chinsinga, in the past, Parliament was getting its condom supplies from the Lilongwe District Health Office but later Partners in Hope took over and has been supplying them ever since.
But MPs did not take the story lightly, with Mulanje Bale Constituency Parliamentarian, Victor Musowa, saying the story has injured their reputation as people out there consider the legislators as sex pests.
He asked for the House to adjourn to allow MPs to return to their constituencies and reassure their spouses.
Blantyre City South legislator Suleman Sameer asked Parliament when was the research conducted to come with such a projection.
“This should be taken serious. I suggest from now, as parliament, let’s not receive these donations of condoms. We can afford our condoms. We are embarrassed,” said Suleman.
He demanded the parliamentary official to explain “with facts where she got that information. She works here, maybe she has evidence.”
On his part, Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda said: “We have been seriously injured with the report. While it is a laughing matter, it is an issue of integrity.”
First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Madalitso Kazombo clarified that condoms which are distributed at Parliament are not only used by MPs but also parliamentary stakeholders who include journalists.
He said: “Condoms are not only for MPs but for all stakeholders who come to Parliament including journalists. It is; therefore, wrong to conclude that we MPs are the ones using these condoms.”
Kazombo said the published story “is not a true reflection”.
He ruled that the condoms be returned by back to AHF and that the reporter to issue an apologise.
“In this House, we debate issues that matter not such petty issues,” said the First Deputy Speaker.
Meanwhile, parliament was suspended to allow the condoms be returned and leadership of the House to map the way forward in reputation management over such publicity.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :