Months after her appointment as Clerk of Parliament (CoP) sparked controversy, Fiona Kalemba yesterday took her oath of office as chief executive of the National Assembly.
Kalemba, who previously worked with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, took an oath of allegiance and an oath of office at Parliament Building in Lilongwe. It was administered by Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda, Senior Counsel (SC).
In his remarks, Nyirenda implored the new CoP to uphold the tenets she has sworn to as it is important in the carrying out of her duties.
Advised the Chief Justice: “Let me remind you that we swear to uphold the Constitution and the laws of our land because they are our operating manuals for services to people. It is only by abiding with the Constitution that you shall uphold the rights of those that you will serve and promote their general welfare and security.
“The Constitution is the bedrock of democratic governance. The institution where you shall be a servant has the primary task of upholding democracy in our State. The oath you have taken is also to remind you that the entire time of your office, your obligation to the public and to perform your duties diligently and to the best of your ability without bias or discrimination.”
Kalemba, appointed by President Peter Mutharika in November 2015, goes into office almost three years after the removal of Matilda Katopola due to miscellaneous controversies.
However, the President’s decision did not please four opposition members of Parliament (MPs)— Harry Mkandawire (Mzimba West, People’s Party-PP), Kamlepo Kalua (Rumphi East-PP), Peter Chakwantha (Lilongwe South West, Malawi Congress Party-MCP) and Enoch Chihana (Rumphi Central, Alliance for Democracy-Aford)—who obtained a court injunction stopping Kalemba from taking the oath of office as CoP.
They alleged that she was not the right person for the position as she came third in an interview conducted by the Parliamentary Service Commission.
However, the High Court in Mzuzu earlier this month dismissed their case, arguing that the President did not flout any law in settling for Kalemba who finished third among the three candidates whose names were submitted to his office.