Tempers flared in the House Monday when Blantyre North Member of Parliament (MP), Francis Phiso, wondered why his Salima North West counterpart, Jessie Kabwila, who is on police bail, was in the House.
But Kabwila, in response highlighted that even President Peter Mutharika is also currently on bail, a statement which did not please MPs from the government benches.
In the course of contributions on the statement by Minister of Education, Emmanuel Fabiano, Kabwila, standing on point of order, observed that Parliament was wrong in ignoring a court order which suspends Minister of Agriculture, George Chaponda, from his ministerial position.
But Phiso hit back at Kabwila: “Is it in order that someone on bail should be attending these proceedings?”
Although Speaker, Richard Msowoya, responded that being on bail does not mean a person is guilty, Kabwila stood again to respond to what Phiso had said.
“Peter Mutharika is on bail and he is the President,” Kabwila said.
But Msowoya reminded Kabwila that Standing Orders do not allow MPs to make direct reference to the Head of State.
Kabwila withdrew the statement, replacing Mutharika’s name with names of Minister of Finance, Goodall Gondwe, Minister of Local Government, Kondwani Nankhumwa, and Minister of Civic Education, Patricia Kaliati.
All the ministers were once arrested during the reign of Joyce Banda.
But Msowoya reminded Kabwila that Standing Orders also prohibit her from mentioning the three ministers.
Kabwila protested that Phiso had mentioned her name. And the Speaker asked both legislators to withdraw what they had said.
They both complied with the Speaker’s ruling.