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MPs urged to prioritise voters

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By Macdonald Thom:

READY—MP Fyness Magonjwa (left) interacts with a colleague during tea
break

Newly elected members of Parliament (MPs) have been urged to prioritise their constituents’ interests when performing their duties.

Scottish Labour Party politician, Margaret Patricia Curran, made the remarks in Lilongwe Monday during the opening of an orientation programme for MPs elected in the May 21 parliamentary elections.

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The former MP for Glasgow East, who was also Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland from 2011 until 2015, said MPs needed to work together.

“In Parliament, there are a lot of opportunities for cross-party work. I think, in Parliament, it is very important for members of Parliament to be the voice of their constituents, speak up for the constituents and deal with matters of national importance…

They ask questions, they research, they get the details that lead to better government,” she said.

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Clerk of Parliament Fiona Kalemba, said low retention of MPs is one of the major considerations for coming up with the orientation programme of legislators.

She said the tripartite elections have seen over 130 MPs fail to return to Parliament.

“This orientation is, therefore, aimed at providing to the elected honourable members of Parliament essential general information on the government operations and contemporary issues which are relevant to the members,” Kalemba said.

She also said the orientation would further provide a platform for the MPs to be introduced to appropriate skills, practice and procedure which are required in the Chamber and committee work.

Kalemba said, after the training, the MPs would have knowledge and understanding of a number of areas including House procedures and rules, how to behave during plenary meetings, how to conduct debates that reflect the interest of the people of Malawi.

She also said the MPs would have knowledge of how to pass laws and how to scrutinize implementation of policies and actions

of the government to promote accountability and transparency.

This is the sixth Parliament after 1994. In 1994, Parliament had three political parties—Alliance for Democracy (Aford), United

Democratic Front (UDF) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) represented and no independents.

The current Parliament, however, has six political parties, namely Aford, UDF, MCP, Democratic Progressive Party, UTM and People’s Party represented. It also has 55 independent MPs.

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