The worsening Covid-19 situation in the country has forced Parliament to suspend committee meetings in their second week which were scheduled to run until February 4 ahead of the Mid-Year Budget Review meeting.
Meanwhile, it is uncertain whether Parliament will meet for the Mid-Year Budget Review for the 2020/21 financial year next month.
Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara issued an internal memo yesterday advising parliamentary staff of the suspension of committee meetings due to the surge in new Covid-19 cases which yesterday claimed the lives of two Cabinet ministers and other 17 Malawians.
The deceased ministers are Lingson Belekanyama, who was Lilongwe Msinja South member of Parliament and Minister of Local Government, and Mohammed Sidik Mia, who was Malawi Congress Party (MCP) vice-president and Minister of Transport.
In the memo, the Speaker states that her office consulted political parties and the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 before announcing the suspension.
Parliament’s chief public relations officer Ian Mwenye in an interview said the secretariat will communicate on the way forward regarding the meeting, adding they are mourning the deaths of the two ministers.
He said: “I can confirm that the committee meetings have been temporarily suspended. Meetings were to run up to fourth February but after analysing the situation on the ground, the Speaker and political leaders thought it wise to have meetings suspended.
“We are mourning. We have lost a member of Parliament who was also the Cabinet minister and we have also lost a Cabinet minister. So, I can say that as Parliament, we are very much touched. We are with the bereaved families.”
The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was expected to start meeting government ministries, departments, and agencies this week.