Just as democracy cannot exist without people, democracy without a functional Parliament has no meaning, Malawi Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda has said.
He was speaking on Friday in Maputo, where he told that countryâ€™s president Armando Guebuza to champion the call to establish a Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) parliament as the Mozambican leader assumes the chairmanship of the grouping next month.
University of Malawiâ€™s political analyst Mustafa Hussein has described the Speakerâ€™s statement as â€œideal for a situation which is being desired,â€ saying currently the practice on the ground points to contrary view due to constitutional and operational implications.
Chimunthu Banda was speaking at the end of the 31st Plenary Assembly of the Sadc Parliamentary Forum whose theme was â€œStrengthening Parliamentary Democracy.â€ The 32nd Plenary Assembly will be hosted by Malawi in October this year.
The challenge, Chimunthu Banda noted, has been to transform words into action. He said the predicament about Africaâ€™s development and integration has not been the lack of ideas, but the failure to implement policies and programmes.
Said Hussein about the Speakerâ€™s remarks: â€œWhat he said and what has obtained in Malawi Parliament are quite different. In some we are making progress. There are many issues like how do the MPs interact with constituents? Do they take the views of ordinary people on board? That is the ideal future.â€
He said in Malawi the complication on the independence of Parliament has arisen from the fact that the definition of Parliament includes the Head of State who is also the head of the Executive which has denied the Speaker a degree of autonomy.
â€œThings like, when Parliament is supposed to meet, the President has to be consulted. In terms of practice, [there is] need to give room for the head of Parliament, the Speaker, to have some autonomy. There should be interaction, interdependence [but] not ruling over and influencing of other branches,â€ said Hussein.