Parliament cancelled: Lawyers question decision

Parliament has postponed the budget meeting which was expected to start on May 8 due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

In a statement on Thursday, Clerk of Parliament Fiona Kalemba said the budget meeting which was scheduled to be held from May 8 to June 26 has been postponed until further notice.

In another development, Secretary to the Treasury Cliff Chiunda has told project coordinators and controlling officers in government ministries that workers in donor funded projects should continue working during the lockdown which will start on April 18 and end on May 9.

“I write to advise that all donor funded projects are exempted and will continue to operate during the period in order to ensure that timelines of project implementation are adhered to,” said Chiunda in a memo dated 16 April, 2020.

He added that all project implementers should take precautionary measures in order to stay safe during this period.

Meanwhile, legal expert Ralph Kasambara has questioned the decision to cancel Parliament and let donor funded projects continue.

He said the government is sending out the message that Constitutional obligations are less important than donor obligations.

“One would have thought that that parliamentary sitting would be opportune time for Govt to hear what people are saying on the ground and also to legitimise whatever actions the Executive is taking during this COVID-19 period,” said Kasambara.

Coronavirus has killed two people in Malawi out of the 16 cases recorded.

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