By Iommie Chiwalo
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has noted that the silence by parliamentary leadership whose membership comprises speaker, leader of the house and leader of opposition among others, on the infamous “smuggled” bill is not only disheartening but a shame.
This comes after it is reported that the draft piece, No. 22 of 2021, Loan Authorisation Bill, allowing the Malawi government to borrow K93 billion to finance the construction of houses for security men in the country, mysteriously found its way onto the Order Paper in the National Assembly.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa in the statement says Malawians are deeply shocked with the deafening silence from the Clerk of Parliament Madam Fiona Kalemba the only person authorized by law to bring bills before the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Leader of the House and the Leader of opposition for deliberation before they appear on the order paper.
CDEDI in its statement made available to this publication says it is worth pointing out right at the onset that all the loans, which government secures through processes such as loan authorization bills, and get deliberated and passed in Parliament, are paid back through tax payers money.
“Such decisions to secure loans, therefore, ought to be made in the best interest of all Malawians. But this has not most often, been the case,” says Namiwa.
Adding that “since now that we know the main architects that are involved in this unprecedented matter, following the arrests that have been made so far by the police, it is everyone’s expectation to know the motive behind this shoddy act!
Procedurally the clerk of parliament is also responsible for gazetting of the bills in the Government Gazette.
“Therefore, all the critical questions surrounding the mysterious bill can ably be handled by Madam Kalemba. Her silence and that of her own boss the Hon. Gotani Hara is creating an impression that the two suspects that have been arrested in connection with the matter, did the job single handedly, without the help of any official from Parliament. This can only be possible in the ‘Mission Impossible’ kind of movies! Isn’t this an insult on the intelligence of Malawians?,” he says.
Namiwa disclosed that bearing in mind the huge public interest this shameful scandal has attracted, CDEDI is demanding that President Chakwera should, for once, act decisively on the matter, by instituting an independent committee to investigate the scandal within 30 days.
“And let Hon. Gotani Hara and madam Kalemba exonerate themselves from this mafia kind of syndicate, within 48 hours, by speaking out on the matter,” he says.
Namiwa has also warned that looking at the way Dr. Chakwera has previously handled so carelessly such very serious matters of national concern, President should tread carefully this time around, for fear of putting his job on the line.
“Any smokescreen attempts on this issue, will not only dent the already buttered image of the Tonse Alliance Partners, but result into a catastrophe, as citizens will be forced to act,”
Efforts to talk to leader of opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa proved futile as he could not pick his phone despite several attempts