Malawi Opposition continues advancing personal agendas over national issues
Opposition parties and government have clashed on when Parliament should reconvene to continue business from the last sitting with opposition calling for the House to meet immediately while government insists it will be a waste of resources.
Speaker Louis Chimango is expected to rule whether MPs who dumped their parties and joined government crossed the floor under Section 65 of the Constitution.
The Speaker failed to make a ruling on the matter during the last sitting of Parliament which adjourned temporarily on October 31 after government obtained an injunction restraining him from passing a verdict.
The court dissolved the injunction last week giving the Speaker powers to call for Parliament to continue with the sitting’s business and make his verdict on the concerned MPs because the House agreed to do so once the matter has been settled.
But Government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati said on Tuesday from Tunisia government will not allow Parliament to meet just to discuss Section 65 because she said it will just be a waste of resources.
She claimed when the Speaker wanted to make a ruling on the matter, the House was about to adjourn sine die.
“If we are going to meet and just to talk nonsense then it’s not on and it’s better not to meet,” she said.
Kaliati accused Speaker of bringing confusion in the House “because of his bias, lack of leadership skills and failure to control Parliament” saying he needs special training outside the country to learn how his counterparts handle Parliamentary business.
“He is shooting himself down. He is failing to control Parliament. He is biased and he lacks leadership skills. He is the one who is bringing problems in the House,” she said.
But Leader of Opposition John Tembo said what Kaliati said clearly shows that government does not understand the importance of Parliament and described the situation as a constitutional crisis where the Legislature and the Executive are at loggerheads.
“That’s the nature of our government. They don’t fully understand the importance of Parliament. I don’t think it’s wise. This is a constitutional crisis,” said Tembo.
UDF Chief Whip Leonard Mangulama said the continuation of the last sitting of Parliament does not need government approval, saying it is up to the Speaker in consultation with the Business Committee to decide on the sitting.
“Government has no right and no powers whatsoever on the meeting of Parliament,” said Mangulama.
He said the House should reconvene soon to continue with the last sitting of Parliament and to give room to the beginning of the new session before the end of the year when traditionally the President opens with a State of the Nation address.
Mangulama said the Business Committee will decide both the date, the length and the business of the sitting and not government.
“On our part we have the [National Governing Council] Bill. If the Speaker is ready with his ruling on Section 65, he will deliver it and if government feel they have some urgent business they can bring it,” he said.
Chimango was reported to be out of the country.
But Acting Secretary to the Treasury, Patrick Kabambe said funds are available for the continuation of the last sitting of Parliament, but he said he has not yet received any request so far.