"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Malawi: Demonstrators force indefinite adjournment of Malawi parliament

A group of pro-government demonstrators forced an inde
finite adjournment of the current budget session of the Malawi

Speaker Louis Chimango, who was escorted into the chamber under
heavy security, announced to the few Members of Parliament who made it
to the chamber that the situation outside the House was not conducive
for the Parliament to continue it sitting.

"MPs feel unsafe to come here so I adjourn these proceedings indefinitely," he said.

Malawi Parliament meets at President Bingu wa Mutharika's official
residence , the New State House, in the capital, Lilongwe.

early morning Friday, trucks were seen dropping scores of young men and
women, most of them bearing concealed weapons, according to

They unfurled placards denouncing opposition MPs for delaying the passing of the 2008/09 national budget.

Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje-Nkhoma told PANA most MPs turned
wh en they saw the demonstrators at the gate of the New State House.

"We are not sure of our safety so we had to turn back," she said.

But the demonstrators denied that they intended to cause problems at the house.

are here to make it known to these opposition MPs that we, the people
who put them in there, want the budget passed because it is for our
development," one of the demonstrators Moses Banda told journalists.
"These MPs are being selfish by prioritising their political needs."

parties want Speaker Chimango to expel MPs who broke ranks with oppos
ition parties to join President Mutharika's newly-found Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP).

Mutharika founded the DPP after
ditching the then ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) on whose ticket
he won the 2004 elections.

Mutharika claimed UDF leaders were corrupt and several MPs followed him to the DPP.

leader in Parliament George Mtafu said the opposition, who forms the
majority in Parliament, would not transact any business unless the MPs
were expelled.

"The law is clear; once you quit your party and
join another you have crossed th e floor and you must lose your seat,"
he said, adding "We are only following the law."

But President Mutharika has challenged the opposition to wait for the next elections scheduled for 19 May, 2009.

want to expel my MPs so that they bring down my government," he said
during a public function Thursday. "I won't allow that."

The bad blood between the opposition and government has seen several government bills torpedoes in Parliament.

Blantyre - 20/06/2008


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