Opposition parliamentarians on Thursday called for the resignation of Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and President Peter Mutharika when news broke out that government had finally disposed of Malawi Savings Bank (MSB).
Surprisingly, Gondwe offered his head but was quick to say that the decision to sale the bank was the only way out, arguing that government needed K32 billion to keep MSB on its feet, a move he said was not feasible.
The seemingly charged legislators did not have any kind words for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led administration, accusing Gondwe of being in contempt of Parliament by continuing with the sale of the bank a day after Parliament had adopted a report by Budget and Finance Committee, consequently stopping the sale.
According to the legislators, there is gross executive arrogance a development they said is now depicting the National Assembly, another important branch of government, as ‘useless’.
Charged Dowa East MP Richard Banda: “The experts and civil society activists that you were discussing with to sell the bank were not voted into office; they were appointed and are paid by their bosses.
“We MPs are mandated by law to stop you and advise government. The Finance Minister must be fired from his position.”
Outspoken Rumphi East parliamentarian Kamlepo Kalua wondered how the executive could proceed with the sale when the other arm of government had said otherwise.
“Does Parliament have any powers in this case, are we failing as MPs, then I am calling for the resignation of President Peter Mutharika,” said Kamlepo attracting applause from opposition benches.
But Gondwe explained that MSB was only surviving with resources from Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Reserve Bank of Malawi.
“It had to be done, perhaps the question could be when and how, but somebody had to take up the responsibility and that somebody is government. Media reports showed that the bank had started making profits, how can an institution that is at its weakest point make profits? How is that possible?
“We had a situation whether to let the bank crumble in the hands of government or in the hands of the private sector. Experts advised us to leave it in the hands of people,” said Gondwe.
On his part, leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera squarely placed the blame on those in authority, saying Malawians have been ripped off by people who also took part in plundering of money at the bank.
“It seems evident that contrary to facts put on the table, decision was already made up, it’s not that the bank is contagious but rather the practice by those in authority has contributed in making the institution non-function. Today the same people who have brought the bank to its knees are the ones saying the only wise thing to do is to sell the bank,” said Chakwera.
According to Chakwera, the game that government is playing will only hurt Malawians adding that people are the best judges in the whole saga.
Said Chakwera,” This government doesn’t care what Parliament recommends, dark meetings only yield dark deeds and the action taken only demonstrates that this government is indeed arrogant.”
The House degenerated into chaos with members showering unparliamentarily words forcing Deputy Speaker Esther-Mcheka Chilenje to suspend proceedings for health break, and later adjourned the House.
The House is expected to rise today after eight weeks of deliberations which have seen the K930 billion 2015/16 budget passed.
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