Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Respect institution of Parliament


A parliamentary seat may be acquired with comparative ease, but nothing short of seriousness throughout one’s term of office could help tame the unwieldy expectations of one’s constituents.

Unfortunately, some of our legislators seem not to grasp this simple logic, and continue to demonstrate their disdain for the institution of Parliament by absenting themselves from the House, yet Malawians expect nothing short of seriousness in the conduct of parliamentarians.

To say the least, absenteeism, especially when there are no justifiable reasons, serves as an indication that some Members of Parliament (MPs) are yet to understand that Parliament, as one of the three branches of the government, is an essential part of independence and democracy which, if anyone needs reminding, did not come on a silver platter.


Nationalists purchased the liberties we are abusing at a high cost, sometimes wading through pools of their own blood to show how serious they were about liberating us.

It is, therefore, an insult to Malawians for MPs to continue treating the institution of Parliament with contempt.

We do not take lightly reports that over 100 MPs were yesterday morning absent from the 193-strong House, with most of them walking in late.


To make matters worse, Cabinet ministers seem to have emulated the bad example of MPs who absent themselves as, as of morning yesterday, only 11 out of 20 Cabinet ministers were present in the House.

Malawians should understand that the absenteeism of MPs has a cost. This is because MPs, whether they are in the House or not, receive K50,000 as sitting allowance.

This happens even when the economy is in tatters.

This is deplorable and we would like to ask MPs to stop the practice forthwith, or else, the door is wide open for them to give others a chance. This is why we have, countless times, called for the re-introduction of the Recall Provision to give constituents the mandate to recall errant MPs.

Otherwise, Malawians will continue singing the song of absenteeism, with no solution in sight.

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