Monday, July 12, 2010

Speaker defends MPs on flag modification

Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda says there was no fault in the flag bill.

By Suzgo Khunga

The Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda says there was ample debate on the protected names and emblems amendments bill and that all procedures were followed which upon approval has changed the national flag.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lilongwe, Chimunthu Banda said the opposition fully participated in the debate on the bill to modify the flag only that they walked out during voting.

“The contribution from the opposition was there, just not in support of the motion on the floor. They were just absent during voting,” he said. The speaker said it was not the first time for the public to gang up against actions of MPs in Parliament but his feeling was that they were entitled to their opinions.

The final quarter of the last sitting of Parliament was characterized by boycotts from the opposition following the swift passing of the K297 billion budgets but also speedy passing of bills in the House.

MPs completed the committee of supply stage within two half day sessions and would sometimes pass bills in less than two hours which the opposition UDF and MCP protested and boycotted voting in the house. Chimunthu Banda said it was normal for MPs to boycott Parliament proceedings but this should not be encouraged because a full House was necessary to conduct business in Parliament.

On the speedy passing of votes during the committee of supply, which several commentators condemned, Chimunthu Banda said ordinarily, the process was a one day affair but it was taking long in the previous Parliament because opposition was in majority.

“There was nothing extraordinary about it. The committee of supply stage was made to become a one week exercise because of the majority of the opposition in the house,” he said.

Chimunthu Banda, however, declined to comment on other controversies which have characterized Parliament such as the ouster of Abele Kayembe as leader of opposition and reinstatement of John Tembo.

He said absenteeism in Parliament was common in the last sitting because of poor communication between the party whips and the office of the Speaker.

“We would have wanted representation of MPs to be 100 per cent but those who were not in the chamber had valid reasons. The weakness is that whips had no offices so once they occupy those offices, I am optimistic there will be swift communication between these offices,” he said.

The speaker also disclosed that the National Assembly would give laptops to each MP within the financial year but they would start with training of MPs on the use of ICTs-Daily Times.


  1. He is a man of vision and has his Honor, not easily driven by events or unnecessary issues.

    He deserves what he has and even more in the near future

  2. magnificient.. thank you for this good sharing!

  3. this is very well thank you man!He deserves what he has and even more in the near future

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