George Chaponda risks losing seat


Beleaguered Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda risks losing his seat as Member of Parliament (MP) if convicted of contempt of court charges levelled against him.

Chaponda travelled to Germany last week on reportedly official duties defying a court order which was obtained at the High Court in Mzuzu by some civil society members restraining the minster from executing his official duties.

In an interview yesterday, former speaker Sam Mpasu said such a scenario is straightforward and the Speaker has powers to kick out of the House such a member.


Mpasu said Parliament is a very powerful institution and observed that the path taken by the Chaponda in defying the court order is a dangerous one.

“Parliament is a powerful office; it has powers to impeach the president or his vice even the Chief Justice. It’s the same as Section 65; the speaker can invoke that section because he has such powers,” Mpasu said.

The former speaker also explained that Chaponda can also be found to be in contempt of Parliament for failing to appear before the joint committee probing the maize deal.


Said Mpasu:“If the chair of the committee can report that to the office of the Speaker that Chaponda disobeyed the order to appear before the committee after being summoned, the Speaker can take disciplinary action and suspend him.”

Chairperson of the joint committee Joseph Chidanti Malunga however said members have in t h e meantime agreed to give the minister another chance to appear before the committee, adding that depending on the commitment by Chaponda, the members will have to make a decision.

“We are travelling to Zambia on Tuesday and we have agreed to interview the minister when we come back and we are hopeful that he will not let us down but if he chooses not to comply with the order then we will take it from there,” Chidanti Malunga said.

Civil society leaders who obtained the injunction are today expected to file for contempt of court charges against the minister at the High Court in Mzuzu after they failed to do so last week due to unavailability of a judge.

Justice John Chirwa is today also scheduled to make a ruling on whether to lift the injunction which government challenged through Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale.

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