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George Chaponda fired as Leader of the House

President Peter Mutharika has replaced beleaguered Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda, with Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa as Leader of the House, Speaker of the National Assembly, Richard Msowoya, has announced.

Nankhumwa was Chaponda’s deputy.

“I am pleased t o inform the House that His Excellency the President has appointed Minister of Local Government and Rural Development as interim Leader of the House. You will recall that on Monday there was an exchange of the issue. I should inform the House that the Speaker received communication on what happened in Mzuzu and communicated to relevant authorities,” Msowoya said on Wednesday.

He made the announcement to Members of Parliament (MPs) at the beginning of sitting.

When Parliament reconvened on Monday, Leader of People’s Party in the House, Uladi Mussa, asked Msowoya who the Leader of the House was.

Further debate ensued when Salima North West MP, Jessie Kabwila, urged the House not to ignore an order from Mzuzu High Court, which suspends Chaponda from his ministerial position to pave the way for investigations on Admarc’s maize purchase from Zambia.

In his communication to the MPs yesterday, Msowoya also announced that Mussa, has submitted questions to Mutharika.

In an interview later, Mussa expressed optimism that Mutharika will go to Parliament.

“It happens in other countries. In the past, former president Bakili Muluzi went to Parliament in Zomba to answer questions. I have three questions on corruption fight, maize purchases and economy. I believe the president will, on one of the Wednesdays in this current meeting, come to the House,” Mussa said.

Last year, Leader of Opposition, Lazarus Chakwera, and Rumphi East MP, Kamlepo Kalua, sent their questions to Mutharika. The President, however, delegated his ministers to respond.

But the MPs said t h e questions be put on hold until Mutharika went to the House to take the questions.

Meanwhile, Msowoya has also announced that Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, will present mid-year budget on Friday February 17, 2017.

He said responses to the statement will be made from February 20 to February 24, 2017. Vote by vote scrutiny will be done from February 27 to March 2 2017. The MPs are expected to pass the budget on March 2 2017.

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