(Representatives of constituents and Disgruntled Taxpayers Association executives want the tribunal to order that the recall provision be reinstated. Judge Mbadwa is handling the matter)
Judge Mbadwa: I have a group or should I say groups that seem to be irked with the conduct of the members of Parliament (MPs), why is that so? Would the chairperson of the Disgruntled Taxpayers Association stand and convince this tribunal why MPs ought to be taken to task. Mr Maumsamatha Boma?
Boma: Forgive me for I don’t know the proper court etiquette as I am more of an activist. Should I address you as your honour or My Lord?
Mbadwa: We are not playing games Mr Boma. This tribunal recognises only My Lord as a proper way of addressing a presiding judge. Thank you and proceed.
Boma: My Lord, forgive my ignorance but we are here because we want to ask this court to order that the recall provision be reinstated forthwith. The recall provision crudely put My Lord, before it was repealed Under Section 64 of the Constitution, provided that every member of Parliament would be liable to be recalled to their constituency upon successfully petitioning the Electoral Commission by one registered voter who would be backed by at least 50 percent of registered voters in the constituency.
My Lord, essentially the recall provision was meant to check defectors; but that is not the reason we want this tribunal to order that it be reinstated. We want it reinstated because we feel most MPs have forgotten why we voted for them. A couple of times last week business had to be suspended because the MPs wanted not to tackle the budget but their conditions of service. Why should these people only speak with one voice when it comes to their perks? Why should they be calling for interest-free loans when they are telling us that our increment of 20 percent, for some of us working in statutory corporations, has been frozen?
My Lord, we feel that these MPs, for the two years that they have been in the House, have already caught the bug of serving selfish interests at the expense of national ones; hence, most of them have to be recalled before they contaminate others.
In addition, My Lord, we did not send people to Parliament so that they should be gallivanting in the streets of Lilongwe instead of being in the House. The Speaker even threatened to not pay them their allowances for absenting themselves needlessly. We need a recall provision because these are setting a bad example to our children. How are we going to reduce absenteeism in schools if our MPs are in the forefront absconding business in the House?
My Lord, we can’t afford to have a Parliament that is bent on wasting taxpayers’ money because they want to feed their stomachs. We want a recall provision now!
Mbadwa: Can the MPs themselves bring back the recall provision as they are interested parties? The court will reserve judgement on this matter as it looks at the mandate and legal options that can be pursued in handling this matter. But for the record, the tribunal is also nauseated by the MPs’ behaviour. It is only people with integrity who can help develop this country. n