Speaker of National Assembly Richard Msowoya on Thursday surprised parliamentarians when he denied sabotaging the passing of a Private Member’s Bill on Electoral Reforms by sending outside the country 10 members from the opposition.
The Speaker did not specifically name the MP who made the accusations, but during a heated debate on the matter, which involved MPs trading barbs, race slurs and political innuendos, Msowoya intervened to distance himself from allegations that he sent about 10 members from the opposition outside the country to weaken opposition voice on the Bill.
Said Msowoya: “Let me take advantage of this debate to deny rumours that are going around that, in order to sabotage the Electoral Reforms Bill, I have deliberately sent some members of Parliament outside Malawi.
This is not true.” Last week, opposition MPs failed to push for the adoption of the Electoral Reforms Bill they were championing after the government side defeated the Bill.
Government held the opposition from passing the Bill, which according to Government chief whip Henry Mussa would be passed after the Malawi Law Commission, which is tackling a similar Bill, brings it to the House.
But on Thursday, chaos returned to the House when the Bill was reintroduced as a Private Member’s Bill.
The Bill seeks to amend a clause in the Constitution regarding counting and management of election results.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) MP for Lilongwe South, Peter Dimba, introduced the Bill, but government parliamentarians quickly called for a roll call vote (Division) to stop the mover of the Bill from making a second reading, which summarises the contents of the Bill prior to debate.
M i n i s t e r o f J u s t i c e Samuel Tembenu asked the parliamentarians to be patient on the electoral reforms process, which he said would be completed by March 31 2017.
Msowoya curtailed the debate and ordered members not to comment on the matter further.