Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa on Friday accused opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) of frustrating government business in Parliament.
He said this in reference to the confirmation of Duncan Mwapasa as Inspector General of Malawi Police Service (MPS), which has been differed after MCP blocked the motion on technicalities and through an injunction.
Nankhumwa described MCP’s action ‘as politicisation of important national business’.
“If the courts have been able to give an injunction over confirmation of an Inspector General, what would stop the very same court granting an injunction to a petition by any member stopping passage of the national budget?” he wondered.
Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi last week moved a motion for the House to confirm Mwapasa, but MCP lawmakers opposed it, wondering why the House wanted to defy the constitutional provision in Section 154 (1).
Interim Leader of Opposition in Parliament Lobin Lowe argued that it was out of order for the House to proceed with the confirmation of an IG when incumbent Rodney Jose, currently on leave pending retirement, is constitutionally still IG.
Although Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Bright Msaka, defended the motion citing the Interpretation Act 30 (1), saying there is no point to withhold the confirmation because of this section as the law is clear, MCP still opposed the motion.
Lowe has since played down Nankhumwa’s remarks, saying MCP members only faulted government for apparently wanting to use short-cuts in the confirmation of Mwapasa.
He explained: “There were some procedures which we faulted as a House but government just wanted to bulldoze the process and as MCP, we couldn’t entertain that.”
In an interview on Friday, legal expert Justin Dzonzi agreed with Lowe, saying Parliament is not supreme and that its decisions can be challenged.
Apart from faulting MCP on Mwapasa’s confirmation, Nankhumwa has hit at MCP for maintaining an interim leader of opposition since June. He argued that the position is not recognised by Parliament Standing Orders.
MCP appointed Lowe as interim leader following Lazarus Chakwera’s boycott of Parliament over disputed May 21 presidential election results, which he is contesting in court.
But Dzonzi, who is also executive director of Justice Link, said the issue is tricky and it is up to Parliament to regularise the arrangement.
After accusing Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara of bias last Friday, Nankhumwa walked back on his threats to take action against her when he lobbied for the elevation of the Office of the Speaker.
According to Nankhumwa the Office of the Speaker in Malawi is below standard compared to other countries in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).
Nankhumwa pointed out that the speakership deserves improved security detail and should be able to function on behalf of the President when need arises.
He said his proposal to elevate the status of the Office of the Speaker has nothing to do with the incumbent but the office.
The house has been meeting for five weeks to deliberate on the K1.7 trillion 2019/2020 National Budget, which was approved on Thursday.
The House rose sine die on Friday.