Over 100 Members of Parliament (MPs) were Tuesday morning absent from the 193-strong House, with most of them walking in late.
A headcount done by The Daily Times just before tea break and lunch break showed there were just 90 legislators, with the government side registering the most absent number of MPs.
On the front bench of senior government ministers, there were only three Cabinet ministers; Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa, government Chief Whip Henry Mussa and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu, with Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe staggering in after 10 am.
There were only 11 Cabinet ministers in the morning yesterday out of the 20.
Also conspicuously missing was embattled former Agriculture minister George Chaponda who remains a powerful figure in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
It was not immediately known why such a large number of MPs were not in the House but they get K50, 000 every day as sitting allowance.
The opposition bench had their Leader Lazarus Chakwera quietly sitting on his parliamentary chair which directly faces that of Nakhumwa. Leader of People’s Party Uladi Mussa was also in the House.
However, deliberations went on well as MPS took to task Cabinet ministers over the state of development in their respective constituencies and the nation as a whole during question time.
Deputy Minister of defense Vincent Ghambi had a rude awakening as Nkhata Bay central MP Ralph Mhone said the deputy minister was not eligible to answer questions on behalf of another minister because he was a mere deputy minister.
Ghambi was answering questions for the ministry of Home Affairs from members of Parliament on behalf of line minister Grace Chiumia who was not in the House.
But First deputy speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje said the standing orders allow deputy ministers to take questions from backbenchers on behalf Cabinet ministers.
She said although Ghambi was a deputy minister, he was in Cabinet and was eligible to take the questions.
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