Members of Parliament challenged on checks, balances
By Alick Ponje:
Members of Parliament (MPs), who emerged victorious during the May 21 Tripartite Elections, have been urged to diligently undertake their tasks of providing checks and balances in the use of public resources.
There have been concerns that the lawmakers often abrogate their responsibilities by only concentrating on passing money bills in Parliament, without following up on how the funds are utilised.
In a message addressed to the MPs through the Office of the Speaker, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency (Csat) Executive Director, Willy Kambwandira, says the diversity and inclusiveness in the new crop of parliamentarians should offer hope for Malawians.
“It is our hope that together, all members will advance a robust legislative agenda that will support growth and sustainability in Malawi,” Kambwandira says.
He has also challenged the 45 female MPs that have made it to the National Assembly to advocate for gender-sensitive budgets and policies.
“Honourable Members, you have assumed office at a very crucial time, when Malawi is ranked among the poorest countries in the world. This means that you have an important task which includes reviewing and amending laws and policies that are holding back the growth of our economy,” Kambwandira says.
The Csat boss has also urged the lawmakers to consult their constituencies every time they intend to make decisions that affect lives of Malawians.
Kambwandira has also asked the MPs to put aside their political party affiliations when deliberating contentious bills.
“Some of the bills include the 50+1 under Electoral Reforms Bills, Malawi Election Commission Bills and Referendum Reform Bills, to mention but a few. The bills remain important to Malawians. It is our expectation that you are going to look into them with clear-headed and moderate minds,” he says.
At the opening of an orientation workshop for the new MPs in June, Clerk of Parliament, Fiona Kalemba, urged the lawmakers to concentrate on harnessing their skills for the good of the country.
Former MP for the House of Commons and Scottish Parliament, Margaret Patricia Curran, also asked the new lawmakers to be guardians of democracy and be the voice of the people.
“Whether on tackling poverty, fighting climate change, managing Malawi’s tax revenues or dealing with regulation for business, you are their voice,” Curran said.
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