MPs’ absenteeism irks Malawians

Malawi Parliament

..Speaker urged to be calling register

Malawians in Mzuzu have described the mass absenteeism of Members of Parliament in the august house as questionable.

The concerned citizens, in random interviews this publication conducted on Thursday across the city, observed that legislators snub parliamentary deliberations without apparent reasons.

Yesterday, when the government side moved a motion to change the Order Paper so that the House could discuss general business in order to block the tabling of the controversial interest rate capping bill, there were only about 100 legislators in the House.

George Ziba, a resident in Masasa township, described the tendency as gross negligence and unacceptable.

“If they are tired let them tell us. Otherwise we are not happy to hear that most MPs don’t attend deliberations,” he fumed.

On his part, Joel Nyirongo, a vendor in main market, questioned Members of Parliament who are fond of truancy to provide genuine reasons to justifying their habit.

“Like today, I heard that about 60 MPs were absent. What is that? With such behaviours we can’t developed this country. We vote for them to represent us and if they don’t go, who represents us then? We need sanity in our Parliament,” he said.

Merry Manda, who runs a restaurant in Mzuzu bus depot suggested that the speaker of parliament should be calling register publicly so that constituents should know if their MP is present or is in the bandwagon of absentees.

“This will help us to hold our MPs accountable because we will be aware how many times they represent us. Otherwise it’s worrisome and where do they go if not where we sent them? We need to take this issue seriously,” she said.

Other Malawians alleged that some MPs shun Parliament when there is a debate they have been bribed not to attend to. They said their absence makes the Parliament to be deciding things that are subjective to Malawians.

“We know how these people can behave when they have been bribed not to pass a bill or to pass a bill that is subjective to Malawians. They don’t attend such deliberations and that makes them automatically voting for the decision,” said James.