Oposition parliamentarians in Malawi on Monday had time to flex their numerical muscles when they successfully shot down a government motion to curtail debate on the Education Bill.
The opposition are now in majority after they were joined by the UDF at the start of this meeting.
The Education Bill was tabled on Thursday last week and the debate continued on Monday afternoon. Just after eight MPs had contributed to the debate, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ephraim Chiume moved a motion to curtail debate and have Minister of Education Eunice Kazembe give her winding speech.
However, the mood in the House, especially from the opposition benches, was clear that the motion was not welcome.
And when Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda put the motion to a vote, it was received with a deafening ‘no’ from the opposition benches after the government side’s ‘weak’ yes vote, which clearly showed how depleted the side is, in terms of numbers.
“The nos have it and the motion is defeated,” Chimunthu Banda said.
The government side has seen its numbers dwindle since the House was opened on February 8, because several MPs have jumped ship and gone back to their parties. Most of the MPs leaving are from the former ruling DPP.
As of Monday, a physical count of the government benches showed that the side, which had more than 85 MPs when the House opened, now has almost 77 legislators. This was after, the Speaker announced that another MP, Rumphi East’s Albert Thindwa has also gone back to DPP and requested to be allocated a seat on the opposition side.