14 June 2017

Malawi: MP Calls Minister Fabiano 'Sitting Phwii' Amidst Malawi Education Crisis - 'Resign!'

Members of Parliament (MPs) from the opposition benches on Tuesday took to task Minister of Education, Science and Technology Dr Emmanuel Fabiano for not being in control of the affairs in his ministry as the country is facing education crisis.

Malawi teachers in public primary and secondary schools over leave grants and other issues and there is failure to resolving the dispute over the closure of Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi for six months.

Fabiano is on record telling parliament that the matter is the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development and not Education.

During the parliamentary sitting on Tuesday, Fabiano was not responding to most of the questions by MPs on education, leaving it to Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe to responding.

This sparked an avalanche of criticism from opposition members of Parliament.

"The Minister of Education is sitting phwii," said a Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Dedza North West MP Alekeni Menyani.

But deputy speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje ruled the MP "out of order" saying the use of words "sitting phwii" were unparliamentary and asked him to withdraw.

The MP obliged: "I have withdrawn the earlier statement am rephrasing."

He then said: "Is it in order for Minister of Education to be in active or sitting phee while the Minister of Finance is attempting to help him."

The opposition legislature told the House that Fabiano was "bust easting a sanguage" and showing no remorse to the education crisis.

"Has he resigned? I f he has resigned let him announce," he said.

But deputy speaker said "government is collective responsibility" hence the Finance Minister helping Fabiano answer questions.

Salima North-West MP Jessie Kabwila (MMCP), who championed the fight for academic freedom, called for resignation of Fabiano, saying government was failing to resolve the education crisis.

Fabiano, who previously denied responsibility on the impasse of Chanco- where he served as vice chancellor before joining politics - saying it was responsibility of Unima Council, defended himself saying there will be a stakeholders meeting on Friday.

Critics argue that for all his experience and learning, having served in various capacities in the University of Malawi, Fabiano should not have been giving the nation laissez-faire attitude on such a crucial matter requiring serious attention.


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