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Parliamentarians urge for active citizenry

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Members of Parliament (MPs) under Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Technology have challenged communities in the country to demand for their share of the highest K235 billion 2017/2018 education sector budgetary allocation.

The committee members told Malawians during a public hearing in the area of Traditional Authority Chitukula in Lilongwe over the weekend that parliamentarians need proactive community members to effectively push for what government promises through the budget.

Leading the discussion, Committee Chairperson, Elias Chakwera, said Malawians chose multiparty democracy in 1993 to fully participate in both decision making and development implementation, hence the need for them to get up and demand what is constitutionally theirs.

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“We are taking the budget to the people so that communities can appreciate what is in the budget and be able to demand what is rightly meant for them in this budget. People are supposed to benefit from the budget that we pass in Parliament and if they are not satisfied with its implementation, they are supposed to say it,” Chakwera said.

Salima North West Member of Parliament and committee member, Jessie Kabwila, said one of the challenges that parliamentarians are facing in their oversight role is lack of support from community members.

Kabwila faulted the mentality of looking up to some individuals as the only people with superior rights to speak out on challenges affecting Malawi.

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“The problem with Malawians is that they see that something is not going on well but they remain dormant as if there is nothing wrong. Malawians need to wake up from their slumber and say things as they are instead of pretending that everything is fine. The budget is for all Malawians and not few individuals,” Kabwila said.

Chitukula Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) Head teacher, Jimmy Chikuni, told the committee to push for the welfare of the CDSSs.

Chikuni said such schools are facing staffing, laboratory, library, teaching and learning materials challenges, affecting education of thousands of pupils in the process.

“I have heard you saying government is employing secondary school teachers this year, we want you to go and tell government to think about CDSSs. The teacher-pupil ratio is not good in these CDSSs and we cannot continue this way,” Chikuni said.

The budget areas that the MPs tackled during hearing include teacher recruitment, devolution of teachers’ salaries, provision of teaching and learning materials, maintenance and rehabilitation funds and the construction of laboratories and libraries in some of the CDSSs.

Southern Africa Parliamentary Support Trust is financially supporting Parliament in the process of interfacing with the people.

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