Rules and procedures of the Malawi National Assembly, and other Parliaments in the region provide that members of Parliament (MPs) plan business of the day’s sitting and even meeting, whether its four weeks or three months long.
With such meticulous planning through the Business Committee, it is shocking that there can be no work for the MPs to do in a day to require them to take three hours off as they did this week.
Barely two years ago the same Parliament which passed a law that enabled the communications regulator to institute the registration of SIM cards turned around this week and displayed their ignorance for the nation to see, claiming their constituents were being inconvenienced by the process.
The remarks just show that MPs rubberstamp Bills that the government puts before them, without consulting their constituents or even analysing the content.
The reactive government that is the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had the audacity to pander to the MPs ignorance and order the suspension of the SIM card registration exercise instead of defending the legislation that passed through the same Parliament with support from both sides of the House.
Apart from the development on the SIM card registration exercise, most of the activities taking place in Parliament during this four week meeting lack direction and seriousness.
If it is not ministerial statements touting activities that have taken place in the past and have little impact in the current socio-economic set up, it is useless constituency statements that on the private members day, this past Thursday, totalled 17.
Scrutinising the long list of ministerial statements, it is clear that members just want to be seen to be doing something, presenting statements full of pointless praise-singing as if they have heard rumours of an impending Cabinet reshuffle.
In the run up to primary elections in the constituencies, the growing number of constituency statements every Thursday is not surprising either: Most MPs are seeking the limelight for the simple reason that they would like to be re-elected in 2019.
All of sudden, MPs who have barely contributed to crucial debate on bills or motions are putting themselves up to speak about the developments in their constituencies, not forgetting asking for a borehole here or a bridge there, instead of presenting such requests to district councils.
Sure, it can be argued that at least they have turned up for work after all they are seen within the premises of Parliament but it is their absence in the House that causes the government to claim there is no more business to tackle.
A quick look at the Order Paper, compiled with input from both the government and opposition, will show that the four weeks set aside for the current meeting is not enough.
For several Parliament meetings, debate has been pending on the report by three committees on the Public Audit (Amendment) Bill tabled last year in June.
There are two more reports to be presented on the National Intelligence Bill, the Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Bill and several equally crucial Bills yet to be tabled.
What kind of business do the MPs wish for when they have not debated a report on the review of Standing Orders presented to the House in February 2017?
As the countdown to 2019 begins, expect a Parliament not interested in making laws but preoccupied with selfish interests, destroying the good legacy it has cultivated in the past four years.