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Davies Katsonga loses dress code case

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The High Court in Lilongwe Wednesday threw out a case in which former speaker of the National Assembly and ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Mwanza Central, Davies Katsonga, took Parliament to court over Ngoni attire.

The former speaker took the matter to court over his headgear, Nthini, when Second Deputy Speaker, Ester Mcheka Chilenje, threw him out for violating the parliamentary dress code as per Standing Order 205 that regulates dressing for MPs in the House.

He went to seek judicial review as he has been arguing the provision is silent on the headgear.

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But Justice Fiona Mwale has said it cannot interfere with internal processes of Parliament, hence throwing out the matter.

During the last meeting of Parliament, Katsonga was banned for a week, not to attend deliberations, after he refused to remove his headgear. He obtained a court injunction restraining the Speaker of Parliament from giving him another suspension for his dressing.

Katsonga argued that the Standing Order talks about black suits, trousers, jacket and wearing a necktie, but it does not forbid other gears like his Nthini. He argued that women are allowed to wear headgears because the Standing Order is silent.

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The matter has been attracting debate in and outside Parliament on whether MPs can have traditional clothing when attending the sittings.

Some cultural groups have also been arguing that parliamentarians should not be restricted on what to wear and Malawian culture should not be deemed inferior to the Western type of dressing.

The Legal Committee of Parliament has been silent on the matter as it is yet to review the Standing Order.

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