Deliberations in Malawi Parliament were cut short on Tuesday afternoon following disagreements between members from the opposition and government sides which forced second deputy speaker, Clement Chiwaya, to adjourn the house to Wednesday afternoon.
The disagreement arose because the opposition side did not want to concede defeat on a vote in which every Member of Parliament present in the house participated in.
The house had to decide whether to continue with other business or debate on a presentation made by minister of education Dr. Emmanuel Fabiano.
The minister of education had told the house in his presentation that government abolished JCE because it is no longer a requirement for one to get employed and that Capital Hill was spending a lot of money to have the exams written.
In response, leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera was very quick to point out that as opposition they are not in support of government’s approach to education.
Leader of the house, Francis Kasaila, then made a reaction that exasperated the opposition.
Kasaila said: “During MCP rule, Malawians were very poor and they were paying school fees, now they are also poor and they will also be paying.”
Kasaila then went on to ask the deputy speaker to command the house to continue with other issues since it was government’s day of business and there was no room for debate.
But resistance from the opposition benches grew stronger such that the speaker was forced to call for a vote to decide the way forward; whether to debate or to continue with other business on the order paper.
The outcome of the vote favored the government side which was of the view that the house had to continue with other business.
It was Kasaila again who riled the opposition to make matters worse in the house.
He said: “Mr. second deputy speaker sir, we should just continue with business, the opposition is using all these tactics to delay proceedings.”
This did not go well with the opposition who demanded Kasaila to sit down if there were to be peace in the house.
The situation got out of hand thereby forcing Chiwaya to suspend the house to Wednesday afternoon, much to the satisfaction of the opposition.