LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera has been accused of flouting Malawi Parliament’s Standing Orders for firing Salima Central lawmaker Felix Jumbe as Parliamentary Chairperson on Agricultural Committee, The Maravi Post has established.On Friday, July 15, just after legislators rose from the nine months budget session, MCP President Chakwera made a dramatic and questionable decision when he removed Jumbe from Agriculture committee to defense without formally alerting the latter per parliamentary standing orders requirement.
According to information The Maravi Post has gathered, when legislator Jumbe learnt of his shift to a committee which is par from his interests and expertise, he formally approached The Speaker Richard Msowoya to act on the wrong decision Chakwera made.
But to Jumbe’s surprise, Speaker Msowoya told him openly that his hands were tied up considering that he was also MCP Vice President in that his acting differently could be construed as showing betrayal to his president.
Malawi Parliament Standing Order 152 section 2 on membership of committees clearly stipulates that “The Party Chief Whip shall submit to business committee names of members of their parties for designation to committee membership; provided that a member may indicate to the party whips his or her interest in serving on a particular committee depending on their competencies”.
While on section 5 subsection reads that “A member shall serve on a committee for the duration of that committee unless, (a) he or she resigns from that office by intimidating his or her resignation to the business committee, (b) a party whip recommends to the business committee to replace the member or remove him or her from the committee (c) he or she removed for a good cause by Assembly on a motion moved by the chairperson or any other member designated by that committee.
On section 7 of the same standing order 152, it further says, “Without limiting the rights of parties under this rule, when designating members to committee’s parties shall consider member’s interests and expertise and benefits to the national assembly of a reasonable continuity in committee membership.
Not only that Dr. Chakwera has flouted the August House orders, but also the supreme law of the land-constitution.
For instance section 43 reads, “Every person shall have the right to (a) lawful and procedurally fair administrative action which is justifiable in relation to reasons given where his or her rights freedom, legitimate expectations or interests are affected.
While on subsection (b) stipulates that, “Be furnished with reasons in writing for administrative action where his or her rights, freedom, legitimate expectations or interests are affected”.
All these sections have been looked down upon which according to political commentators the decision is based on political reasons just to silence Jumbe who has surpassed above party politics with practical agricultural policy reforms for Malawi.
This is not the first time the Salima central lawmaker has faced such a whip from MCP’s leadership. Early this year, he was removed from being the party’s Director of Campaign to the deputy director of research which Chakwera at that time justified saying Jumbe was fit for the post.
The removal of Jumbe from Agricultural committee where he fitted well based on his proficiency and impacts have made on the entire agriculture system reforms, it means that the nation will lose a lot for next three years he was supposed to serve.
The decision means that Parliamentary Agriculture committee will then go into elections for the position of the chairperson and his deputy which is likely that the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will carry the post.
However, Jumbe is quoted in the local media that he will serve the new post-the defense committee though with hasty approach as isn’t his area of expertise.
When Capital Radio on Monday, July 18, asked as to why the MCP leadership was making a hell on earth to Jumbe, Chakwera defended the decision saying he wanted every lawmaker be exposed to different departments of government.
The MCP President who is also opposition parties in Parliament said has no grudges against any member in party including Jumbe.
Chakwera therefore disputed reports that he was surrounded by hand clappers who always advices him what he wants to hear.
“I am the most torrent political leader in this country. I accommodate all dissenting views that come in the party. Unfortunately, others want to take advantage of me being a pastor by bring unnecessary tension to the party.
“I am talking to everyone in the party including the mentioned member without personalizing the MCP leadership. So, these are minor issues which every party goes through for its growth,” clarified Chakwera.