‘No report: no budget’


Opposition members of Parliament on Thursday threatened to scuttle budget discussion if government does not release an audit report into the K92 billion which was reportedly mismanaged during the first Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.

The seemingly charged parliamentarians, who vowed to extend proceedings to midnight, also demanded for independence of the House, saying they are tired of being at the mercy of Treasury, thereby failing to execute their oversight role.

Multiple blackouts also characterised the proceedings as the two sides tussled, with the opposition parliamentarians demanding that the Auditor General must furnish the Speaker’s office with the report, but government MPs led by Deputy Chief Whip Grace Chiumia blocked the move.


A heated debate ensued in the House when the MPs reconvened at 2pm after lunch break, when first Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka-Chilenje announced that the business committee of Parliament had resolved not to feature four private members motions on the day’s order paper.

According to her the motions needed a day notice before appearing on business of the House, a process which had not taken place.

However, it became clear from contributions from members that the revised standing orders do not allow for such a period anymore.


Being private members day, the disgruntled MPs ganged up and requested for a supplementary order paper and nothing less.

Chilenje, who seemed at pains to diffuse the tension, explained that the committee is supreme as it has the mandate to examine and agree on what business needs to come before the House as per standing orders.

But Chairperson of Legal Affairs Committee Peter Chakwantha, who submitted the motion on K92 billion audit, challenged Chilenje’s ruling arguing that the business committee is not superior to the House.

“This House is more powerful than the business committee. In fact standing order 46 is also very clear that any member has the mandate to alter the order paper and suggest an item that has to be debated if it is adopted. Why is government afraid to have the report made public, what are you trying to hide,” queried Chakwantha, attracting applause from opposition benches.

On his part Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe said he had not yet seen the report, adding that he only has seen the preliminary documents.

The sides dug in their heels prompting Chilenge to suspend the proceedings for consultation.

In her ruling after a 30 minute break, Chilenje upheld standing order 46, a development which did not go down well with government MPs.

The House had to go into voting and the opposition members carried the day with 55 votes against 53.

The results did not help solve matters as government legislators accused the Deputy Speaker and Clerks of bulldozing business in favour of the opposition.

At 7 pm the Speaker admitted to have failed to control the members and invoked section 106 suspending the House for being disorderly.

Meanwhile, members have vowed not to pass the 2015/2016 budget pass before the report is debated in Parliament.


Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker