Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara yesterday suspended Machinga Central East member of Parliament (MP) Daudi Chikwanje and Thyolo West legislator Charles Mchacha from parliamentary business for two days.
The Speaker effected the suspensions after the two, both affiliated to the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), refused to obey orders and subsequently resisted an order to leave the National Assembly.
On the other hand, the Speaker referred the conduct of Blantyre City South East MP Sameer Suleman and Blantyre North legislator Francis Phiso—who is also Minister of Sports, Youth and Culture—to Parliamentary Service Committee for disciplinary measures for manhandling the sergeant-at-arms, the custodian of discipline in Parliament.
Hara gave the ruling after suspending the House at 11am following disorder that erupted in protest against the moving of a motion to facilitate tabling of a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Constitution. Chitipa East MP Kezzie Msukwa (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) moved the motion.
Disagreements ensued after Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Bright Msaka said the motion for the amendment of the Constitution, especially Section 77, could only be effected through a referendum.
When Chikwanje and Mchacha—who is also Deputy Minister of Transport and Public Works—disobeyed the orders, the sergeant-at-arms pointed the ‘mace’ at the duo. This prompted Suleman and Phiso to physically attack the sergeant-at-arms in full view of the entire House. Suleman was also seen taking off his jacket prior to his act.