14 February 2018

Malawi: Opposition MPs Demand Minister to Withdraw 'Praise Singing' Remarks On Mutharika On Govt Projects

Opposition members of Parliament (MPs) Khumbize Kandodo and Kamlepo Kalua were up in arms against Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango who presented a ministerial statement updating the House on infrastructure projects, saying he should withdraw the part where he sounded like reciting a manifesto for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Mhango in his statement mentioned a long list of infrastructure projects government plans to embark on between now and 2019.

But standing on a point of order, Kasungu South-East member of Parliament (MP) Khumbize Kandodo-Chiponda (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) said the minister politicised the development projects funded by the tax-payer.

"Is it in order Madam Speaker, on the fourth paragraph of page 15 of the [ministerial] report, that the minister in his statement said and I quote, 'all these projects have been initiated and masterminded by His Excellency Prof. Peter Mutharika, who is spending sleepless night devising ways and means to transform this country, by the time he leaves office in 2024, Malawians will be telling a different story, this is transformative leadership."

Kandodo demanded the minister to withdraw the paragraph.

The MCP legislator was supported by outspoken Rumphi East member of Parliament (MP) Kamlepo Kalua (People's Party-PP).

"It is true that a ministerial statement should not reflect a manifesto of a party. Can the minister please withdraw part of the statement. I would like to join my friends from MCP calling for his withdraw," said Kalua.

In her response, the First Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje said the minister statement was his personal opinion which everyone is entitled to make.

She said the ministerial statement did not require to be passed as law.

Chilenje said the minister added a controversial paragraph in a "beautiful statement."

She said: "In his opinion, the minister wanted to praise his leader. Should I bar you members from praising your leaders? This is a serious House, let us deliberate matters that benefit the nation."

The parliamentary Budget and Finance Committee chairperson, Lilongwe City South West Member of Parliament (MP) Rhino Chiphiko (MCP) has meanwhile, accused government has not been forthcoming in disclosing sources of funding for the projects, fearing that it could be building up more arrears by contracting for the projects through promissory notes.

Mhango insisted that funds had been made available for the roads either through donors or government.

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