Fiona Kalemba appointed new parliament clerk

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Malawi President Peter Mutharika has appointed Fiona Kalemba as the new Clerk of Parliament, years after the office has been vacant due to miscellaneous controversies over the previous holder.

Kalemba replaces Matilda Katopola who was axed three years ago.

Kalemba previously worked with the Ministry of Justice and was opted at the expense of court judge Charles Mkandawire according to media reports.

Parliament Service Commission (PSC) fired Katopola from her position claiming that former President Dr Joyce Banda was not comfortable to work with her.

parliamentBut Katopola challenged the move and dragged the Government to Court in 2012 where she demanded K500 million for constructively dismissal and breach of labour laws.

Government denied dismissing Katopola by saying she was still receiving her monthly salary.

In his ruling, Deputy IRC chairperson Chimwemwe Kamowa said: “From the totality of the evidence, we find that the applicant [Katopola] was constructively dismissed and unfairly dismissed. We award the applicant severance pay, terminal benefits and other benefits to be assessed on a date to be fixed”.

The IRC deputy chairperson observed that Section 57 of the Employment Act, as read with Sections 31 and 43(b) of the Constitution, requires that employment can only be terminated for good reasons and an employee must be heard before termination of contract which was not the case with Katopola.

The magistrate also noted that the former clerk of Parliament could only have been removed or suspended by the President, upon recommendation by the PSC for disability, bankruptcy, neglect of duty or misconduct.

Court is yet to state the amount.

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