Parliament adjourned prematurely yesterday
after opposition MPs took government unawares by resurrecting Section
65. The opposition demanded that the Executive signs the Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) drafted by the clergy on the country’s political
impasse or else they (the MPs) would torpedo the budget.
Section 65—a constitutional provision that stops MPs from crossing
the floor—may mean a further delay to the adoption of the budget which
has already delayed by over a month.
UDF leader in the House George nga Mtafu said until Section 65 is
put on the agenda together with a report on Special Client Account, the
budget is not going to pass as doing so would allow lawlessness to
continue in the country.
Leader of opposition John Tembo said the opposition’s concern is
that the Ministry of Justice is suffocating justice in the country. But
he said he is willing to sit down and find a political solution.
Drama also filled the afternoon session which saw the opposition
forcing Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe to give only K2 to the Malawi
Broadcasting House—a proposed successor of MBC and TVM.
The opposition-led Parliament also told government to ensure that
the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) should not be partisan by targeting
members of the opposition and failing to act on the Executive and DPP
Gondwe tried to no avail to bring back the vote for the Ministry of
Justice and Constitutional Affairs, which was rejected on Monday until
government makes a commitment to democracy and the rule of law.
The minister then asked for suspension of the Committee of Supply,
which is only remaining with seven votes to go before passing of the
Parliament has been adjourned until this afternoon though it is not
known if they two sides will find an amicable solution after President
Bingu wa Mutharika earlier stated he does not recognise the MOU.
Three votes passed in the afternoon: of Mines, Geological Surveys and Ministry of Health.