Leader of Government Business in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa has accused Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara of alleged bias against the government side during debates and other business in the National Assembly.
In a communication dated October 7 2019 signed by Nankhumwa, who is also Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, the government side describes some decisions the Speaker has made as leaving a lot to be desired.
But when contacted on Monday, the Speaker declined to comment on the petition.
The petition follows an incident on Friday when member of Parliament (MP) for Blantyre City South East Sameer Suleman (Democratic Progressive Party) was suspended over misconduct in the House alongside Dowa East MP Richard Chimwendo Banda (Malawi Congress Party) on Thursday.
But Nankhumwa, who confirmed writing the letter in an interview yesterday, claimed there was bias in the Speaker’s handling of Suleman’s case, adding that Chimwendo Banda was only suspended after DPP legislators protested.
The letter further describes the Speaker’s decision not to allow a motion for an extension of time to allow members debate on Acting Inspector General Duncan Mwapasa’s confirmation as being wrongly conceived.
On Friday, the Speaker pointed out that Standing Orders do not allow for an extension of time after going past sitting time which on this particular day is 12.30 pm.
Said Hara: “We have gone past our sitting day today. So, we cannot entertain any more motions.”
In her ruling on Thursday, the Speaker used Standing Order 105 (3) on Sanctions Against Disorderly Conduct which says that if a member is named, the Speaker may direct that he or she be suspended from the National Assembly for two sitting days from the time of suspension.