Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara has lamented the continued absenteeism of Members of Parliament (MPs) during the mid-year budget meeting which is currently underway in Lilongwe.
According to Gotani Hara, it is worrisome to note how they lawmakers are absconding deliberations despite being entrusted to execute national business on behalf of Malawians.
The Speaker has since reminded the legislators that relevant Standing Orders will be considered to all those MPs absconding their mandated duties.
“The Speaker is justified to make such remarks, and today ever since we started Parliament I think it has been the lowest, and I will be open here that it is the opposition side.
“You have watched yourselves how the opposition side has been very empty and that’s the challenge that we noted, trends from last week and that even prompted the Speaker to talk about,” said Richard Chimwendo Banda, Leader of the House.
During last week`s deliberations, First Deputy Speaker Madalitso Kazombo also complained about a tendency of most MPs who are deliberately not showing up during the meeting for reasons best known to themselves.
The current hybrid rules that the House is being guided upon requires that both sides of the House should have a total of 30 lawmakers present in the Chamber whilst the rest attend the debate via video a link.
According to Standing Order 41 (3), a Member who is absent without seeking leave of absence shall forfeit all allowances during the period of absence.