After being separated for about four years, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) Members of Parliament Thursday joined forces in their desperate attempt to seek answers on what they feel is delayed justice in former president Bakili Muluzi’s K1.7 billion corruption case.
Muluzi, who has been in and out of court for the past 12 years, is accused of misappropriating public funds during his time as Head of State and Government.
Rising on a Point of Order, MCP Member of Parliament for Salima North West Constituency, Jessie Kabwila, said she wanted to bring to light the issue of “concern”.
She described the news of Wednesday’s Constitutional Court ruling as a form of torture on Muluzi.
But Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya, faulted Kabwila for not following procedures.
“The procedure for raising such an issue has to come after question time. You write to the Chair, then the Chair will look at the matter and give you time to ask. Members [of Parliament] must know [that] nobody in this house wants to gag any member to say anything from his or her constituency but we have procedures,” Msowoya said.
The Speaker also said he hoped Kabwila took note that the ruling in question is a preliminary ruling within a trial and is, therefore, guided by Standing Order 192, [and that, therefore] Parliament could not discuss the matter.
But Dowa East lawmaker, Richard Chimwendo Banda, said the issue has been raised in Parliament for some time and Muluzi has been treated as a prisoner for over 12 years.
“This is unfortunate for our country. We thought justice should be done to the former Head of State and we all know that the former Head of State has not been well for some time. And why is government continuing torturing the former Head of State?” Chimwendo Banda queried.
UDF Member of Parliament for Balaka Central Constituency, Aufi Mpaweni, said Muluzi has suffered for 12 years, wondering as to what kind of justice the country is waiting for.
Another UDF lawmaker, Lilian Patel of Mangochi South Constituency, said UDF members across the country are sick and tired of what she also called torture of Muluzi.
“If they want to arrest them, let them do so. If they want to kill him, kill him. Dr Bakili Muluzi was a…” Patel said before her microphone got switched off.
Other MPs continued rising on the matter and Chimwendo Banda suggested that the Business Committee should meet on the issue, forcing Msowoya to seek immediate advice from leaders of parties in Parliament.
Leader of the House, Kondwani Nankhumwa, said it was important for Kabwila to appropriately raise the issue.
Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Lazarus Chakwera, said his lamentations on the same do not necessarily mean the National Assembly should flout its own standing orders. He said rules of the House should be followed.
Leader of People’s Party in Parliament, Ralph Mhone, said it was important for lawmakers to understand that they were delving into the matter that is dealt with by the Constitution itself; separation of powers.
When Kabwila made a formal presentation of her question, Msowoya said after consultations he came to the conclusion that, being a court case, the matter has no room for discussion in Parliament.
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