By Macdonald Thom:
Parliament Monday adjourned early after loss of power in the chamber made it difficult for members of Parliament (MPs) to continue with their deliberations.
The blackout occurred 15 minutes after teabreak and the MPs were in the dark for eight minutes before Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya, announced the adjournment.
This happened at a time Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu, was giving an update on the progress of the review of the Witchcraft Act.
The minister was giving the update during a debate on a statement Minister of Homeland Security, Nicholas Dausi, had delivered in the House on the state of disaster preparedness and response for the 2018/19 season.
Dausi had just told the House that, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs had just received a report of a fire accident in the area of Traditional Authority Mwansambo in Nkhotakota District that destroyed houses.
“What is disheartening about the fire accident is that the fire was started by community members on allegation that the owners of the houses were practising witchcraft. A total of 31 households had their houses and property destroyed by the fire,” Dausi said.
He said it is unfortunate that such incidents can happen when the Malawi Constitution clearly stipulates that it is criminal to call somebody a witch.
“May I request my fellow honourable members to civic-educate our constituents on the evils of taking the law into their hands,” Dausi said.
It was in the course of answering follow up questions on the issue that the blackout occurred in the chamber.
The country is facing serious power problems, with other areas experiencing up to 12 hours a day without electricity.
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