DPP protests some of the changes
Newly elected Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda says government needs Parliament’s approval for it to legally continue spending by 1st July and that a provisional statement from the Finance Minister will be presented.
In an interview at Parliament, Chimwendo Banda stressed that what is urgently needed is the budget as Tuesday is the last day for government’s spending to ensure non interruption of social service provision.
According to him, he does not foresee a scenario where the opposition Democratic Progressive Party would refuse the budget arguing that despite having reservations on the document, in the past five years the Malawi Congress Party allowed government to spend.
“Because the budget is about providing services to the people it’s not about as Members of Parliament. It’s about buying medicine, it’s about paying teachers, it’s about making sure that we’re able to provide services.
“So they must have a very tangible reason why they must stop that. However, even if they try to do that they can’t manage because even among themselves they will be a few who will say no we can’t stop the budget. explained the legislator.
When the house reconvened, the DPP parliamentarians protested over why UTM party and other members in the Tonse Alliance were sitting on government benches.
The leader of the house expressed surprise over the development saying when it was in the opposition, they allowed other members of opposition to sit on their side without any problems.
“What becomes an issue is when you cease to be a member because the Constitution is very clear when a member ceases. UTM is still UTM, PP is still PP, AFORD is still AFORD.
“These parties are still parties. They have not joined MCP. It’s just a coalition of political parties coming together to support Malawians in a form of a government that’s what is there.
“So section 65 is still very clear that only when you cease to be a member. So we’ve not seen anyone ceasing to be a member. They are still members of UTM, they’re still members of PP and they’re still members of AFORD.
“So there is nothing strange, but however the Speaker was quick to say she’s going to provide a legal ruling on that and we’ll wait upon the Speaker,” he observed.
He was confident that nothing will change as the Constitution clearly states that can happen when one ceases to be a member and that so far there is no one who has done that.
In line with Parliamentary procedures and practice in democratic parliaments like Malawi, a political party whose President has won an election, forms the Government and is called the ruling party.
Speaker of the House Catherine Gotani-Hara announced that MCP will now be the ruling party and its members will therefore sit on the right hand side while members from all other political parties are deemed to be in the opposition and are therefore, generally supposed to sit on the left hand side.
Chimwendo Banda is now the Leader of the House taking over from Kondwani Nankhumwa.
Nankhumwa who is Democratic Progressive Party leader has now assumed the role of the Leader of the Opposition with Vuwa Kaunda as its Whip.
John Chikalimba is now leader of the People’s Party while Noah Chimpeni will be the Whip with Kalaile Banda as the Deputy Whip.
Gotani-Hara also announced names of some of the members of the mini- cabinet the President made on Monday and as the names were read out, the government side kept clapping hands and cheering while the DPP MPs were reduced to mere spectators.
A Business Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 9:30 to discuss and agree on the business and programme for the remaining period of the current meeting.
Chairing of Budget; Legal Affairs; Public Appointments; Public Accounts; Defence and Security and Government Assurances Committees is expected to change following the just ended elections according to the Rules of the House.
Phalombe North Constituency which was won by Anna Kachikho is now vacant following nullification of the 21st May, 2019 Parliamentary Election results for the Constituency by the Courts on 22nd June, 2020.
She also reminded members that Coronavirus preventive measures will continue being enforced.