The Grand Coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) and opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have queried why the statement Vice-President Khumbo Kachali made in Parliament on Monday will not be subjected to questions and adoption by the House.
Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda on Wednesday ruled that the statement, which outlined actions government has taken since the discovery of civil servants’ looting at Capital Hill, would only be debated.
The Speaker added that the contributions have been mere accusations and counter-accusations across the floor.
DPP deputy chief whip Symon Vuwa Kaunda’s attempts to get answers on the way forward after debate were quashed, first on Monday then on Wednesday after Chimunthu Banda responded that the address Kachali made was for mere “noting” by Parliament.
In an interview with The Nation, Vuwa Kaunda said: “The statement, if it is indeed a presidential address as the Speaker said, should be subjected to a vote and Parliament has to adopt it with resolutions.
“Now, if there is no provision for Parliament to do that then what are we doing in Parliament? We are turning into a talk show.”
He said Malawians expected to hear from the President and then Parliament to do something about actions taken by the Executive.
On his part, CSOs Grand Coalition spokesperson Benedicto Kondowe said debate on the statement without passing any resolution would be a waste of taxpayers’ money.
He said the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament report tabled on Tuesday was not a reflection of the Executive’s actions and plans in the wake of the Capital Hill cash-gate.
Said Kondowe: “While the Public Accounts Committee report is also key to the ongoing discussions, it must be made known that the statement by the presidency is the authority on government’s perspectives on the matters before Parliament subjected to debate and resolutions.”
MPs have been debating on the Vice-President’s statement since Tuesday, including the PAC report tabled this week which made 18 recommendations to government on the way forward after the plunder.
Parliament is also expected to pass amendments to the money laundering legislation and pass the Declaration of Assets Bill to address loopholes in the public finance management systems.