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Parliament lacks maturity—Sam Mpasu

Former speaker of the National Assembly, Sam Mpasu, has said the Malawi Parliament has over the years shown signs of immaturity and has failed to tackle the interest of Malawians.

Mpasu argued that some Members of Parliament (MPs) are in the house with vague idea as to what they are supposed to do and as such, they represent their own interest and that of their political parties leaving out the interest of the electorate.

Speaking in an interview on Wednesday before the opening of the budget session of Parliament, Mpasu said MPs should focus on problems the country is passing through and put their mind on ordinary people who are struggling.

“The house has not matured; the house has not been listening to the voice of Malawians outside the house. Parliament delivers if it is incorporating the interest of ordinary people. If we look at some things that the legislators have been doing since they became members of parliament it seems to me that they are not listening to the aspirations, ambitions and the needs of the people who voted them into power,” said Mpasu.

Another former speaker of parliament, Henry Chimunthu Banda, however, took a softer tone on the house’s progress saying it is not entirely immature but only follows the tradition in commonwealth parliaments that allows MPs to debate lively to meet the expectations of the people.

He, however, pointed out that low retention levels of Members of Parliament remains a blow to operations of the national assembly.

“The major challenge facing the institution of Parliament is the low turnover of MPs at every general election. Democracy has resulted into more than 75 percent of MPs losing their seats. What this means is that parliament loses the much needed institutional memory coupled with lack of on-the-job training, newly elected MPs take time to conform to parliamentary practices and traditions rendering them less effective in the first two years or so,” said Banda.

Meanwhile, Mpasu has tipped the legislators to suggest ideas and find solutions to the challenges the country is passing through.

He said Members of Parliament must make sure they put government on its feet and that the budget they are passing reflects a positive outcome.

“When the president is opening Parliament he is telling the MPs that his government wants money, and the MPs should know the challenges we have, we are sliding backwards and we are behind other African countries, the economy is in bad shape,” said Mpasu.

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