Chancellor College Associate law professor Edge Kanyongolo has said the question time allotted to members of Parliament (MPs) in the august House can be utilised better by the elected representatives to serve Malawians.
Kanyongolo, who was on a panel of three together with political analyst Henry Chingaipe and Congoma chairperson Voice Mhone, was making his contribution on the effectiveness of Parliament in Malawi as part of the discussion on the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (Afrimap) report on Malawi Democracy and Political Participation launched yesterday.
Said Kanyongolo in his preamble: “I have a problem when it comes to discussing the effectiveness of Parliament because the question is what is effectiveness?”
Among several issues, Kanyongolo in his conclusion raised the question whether members of Parliament should be spending time, asking ministers about, for example, construction of a bridge in some rural area at such a national forum.
“I do not know if I will be allowed to say this, but I think question time is a waste of time,” he concluded.
During question time, ministers answer questions from MPs, questions which, by order, are sent in advance and mostly court almost usual answers.
In an interview on the sidelines of the discussion, a political scientist could not agree more.
“It becomes even more useless when one looks at the responses which are supposed to have been well researched, but simply exposes the unpreparedness of the government machinery to deal with the challenges” said Blessings Chinsinga of Chancellor College.