Members of Parliament absenteeism irks House’s leadership


By Cathy Maulidi:

Parliament convened its sitting with only 65 members, a development that irked the House’s leadership.

First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Madalitso Kazombo was first to call out legislators for the behaviour.


He called for “an improvement”.

It all started with Kazombo calling out the names of lawmakers who were expected to ask questions to Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda and later Transport Minister Jacob Hara.

The first question to the Health Minister was to come from Chikwawa West Member of Parliament (MPs) Susan Dossi but Kazombo said the member sought leave of absence.


As such, the House focused on questions that fell under the Ministry of Transport.

In this case, Kazombo called out Lilongwe North East MP Winston Kaimapanjira.

However, the MP did not avail himself of the House.

This was also the case with Phalombe North East MP Dennis Namachekecha, who was nowhere to be seen.

The list went on, with Chiradzulu North MP Patrick Matola and Mangochi North MP Benedicto Chambo also not availing themselves of the august House.

“The members I have called are not in the chamber. It seems like members are still in the Easter mood. Leaders on both sides [the opposition and government], please take note. This is not a healthy situation,” Kazombo said after calling out the absent members.

He added that it was unfortunate that MPs were absent despite leaders of the House granting them a half day on Thursday last week so that members could have time to rest before the main holiday on Easter’s good Friday.

“You were given a half day on Thursday last week to prepare for good Friday. This is not good,” Kazombo said.

Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda in consultation with Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa proposed a roll call.

The roll call established that the House had 65 members, including Cabinet ministers who are not MPs.

Kazombo announced that 131 MPs were absent and only two sought leave of absence.

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