National Assembly Speaker Richard Msowoya has said President Peter Mutharika and all other leaders in Malawi should endeavour to demystify their powers by being more accountable to ordinary people who should be encouraged to scrutise and question their public offices.
“In this country, leadership—starting from the Presidency, ministers, those of us in this House, councillors, civic and traditional leaders etc—are treated with far too much respect and are, sometimes, feared such that it becomes a convenient barrier to accountability.
“53 years after independence, and 24 years in the multiparty dispensation, this cannot be allowed to continue and we, in this House, are the people who have to lead in changing that,” Msowoya declared in Parliament in Lilongwe yesterday.
He was making a ruling on a government query over remarks made by Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera in the Chamber on Wednesday.
Chakwera, who is also president of main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), had uttered the comments soon after the Speaker had announced that Mutharika had relieved Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Georged Chaponda of his ministerial duties on that day.
In his comments after the announcement, Chakwera expressed disappointment that the sacking of Chaponda, who was embroiled in a scandal in his involvement in Malawi’s questionable procurement of maize from Zambia.
“The executive arrogance that has been exuded in the handling of this issue with the former minister puts to question the moral standing of the President, the Executive and the DPP [the ruling Democratic Progressive Party],” Chakwera had declared.
The remarks did not go down well with Government Chief Whip Henry Mussa, who queried the Speaker over what he perceived to have been Chakwera’s reflection on the Head of State, against a Parliamentary Order.
Mussa’s demand that Chakwera withdraws his statement was initially rebuffed by the Speaker after he had scrutinised a written copy of the queried statement.