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Parliament meets June 5

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MSUKWA—We will have to push the agenda

Parliament will from June 5 to July 24 meet to deliberate the long-awaited national budget in the meeting that will also likely endorse and gazette June 23 as a date for the fresh presidential election.

Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara confirmed the June 5 date after Parliament initially failed to meet following the government imposed measures to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among the measures was that public gatherings should not involve more than 100 people. Malawi’s Parliament has 193 members.

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In an interview Tuesday, Hara said the Business Committee of Parliament met to discuss modalities of adhering to the Covid-19 preventive measures, among other things.

“Usually, the budget is the main item but there are a number of issues that are discussed and the Business Committee will be meeting some time; that is the body that is mandated to decide what will be the agenda for Parliament,” she said.

Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development spokesperson Williams Banda confirmed the meeting, saying the ministry is ready with the budget.

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In a separate interview, chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee, Kezzie Msukwa, said he expects all the constitutional issues that await parliament’s deliberations to be tabled during the budget meeting.

Last week, the committee endorsed Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec)’s proposal that the election should be held on June 23, but Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale said the committee had no powers to set the date as it needs the whole House meeting.

“At any opportune time that Parliament is meeting we will have to push the agenda and we expect everything will be passed because these are urgent matters,” Msukwa said.

Meanwhile, Mec has said it will meet to decide on how to proceed with preparations for the fresh presidential election as it awaits the appointment of a new chairperson following Jane Ansah’s resignation.

Mec Chief Elections Officer Sam Alfandika said the commission is yet to meet to decide on preparatory steps they can make as a secretariat in the absence of the Mec Chair.

Ansah resigned from her position following the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Constitutional Court’s judgement which nullified last year’s presidential election.

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