The Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda has written a book, Malawi Parliament: Origins, Reforms and Practices, the first since 1974 to catalogue Parliament procedures and practices.
The book is expected to be launched today at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe and will signal the Speaker’s foray into the academia following his announcement of retirement from active politics after May 20 Tripartite Elections.
Speaking at a press briefing to announce the launch of his book on Monday, Chimunthu Banda said his 15 years experience in Parliament as a chairperson of the Agriculture Committee, a deputy minister, Cabinet minister, leader of House and finally Speaker, prepared him well to research and write the book.
He said from the time a ‘Parliament’ was established in Malawi in the form of a seven-member legislative council in 1907, there has been no proper documentation of Parliament procedures.
“The last known public booklet of Parliament procedures and practices was published in 1974, since then, there has been no other book published on the reforms that have taken place. In that context, this is the first publication,” Chimunthu Banda said.
The Speaker said he wrote the book after noting the challenges that new members of Parliament (MPs) and the media were having in understanding parliamentary procedures considering that there was no institution providing training in the area.
“It became necessary for me after 15 years in Parliament to write this book after noting the challenges that first time members were having. Imagine for a person with no references on how Parliament works to start making determinations on the budget, a few weeks after being elected MPs. The book becomes necessary during those times,” he said.
The Speaker also included the challenges he faced in implementing certain Parliamentary procedures in his capacity as Speaker such as Section 65, but promised that he would only include personal anecdotes in his next book.
About 1 000 copies have been printed for sale at a price to be announced on Friday.