Malawi: 'Where Is President Mutharika?' Speaker Rejects Opposition Leader's Point of Order

9 September 2019

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) on Monday queried the absence of President Peter Mutharika in parliament during the opening of the 2019/20 National Budget session.

Lowe: Out of order, Standing Order 200

Leader of opposition Lobin Lowe stood on point of order, saying President Mutharika needed to be in the House to address the nation as part of accountability politics to oblige to the law requirement citing Standing Order 200 which partly reads; "Immediately before the consideration of the national budget the president shall attend Parliament and address the assembly on the state of the nation and policies of the government".

However, Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara said there was nothing out of order because the President already addressed the nation during the opening of the 48th session.

When he delivered his State of the Nation Address (Sona) at the opening of the 1st Meeting of the 48th Session of Parliament, Mutharika was booed at by MCP lawmakers, who marched out in protest against his re-election as President.

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