CDEDI wants local languages in Parliament: ‘MPs struggle with English’


Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has called for a debate on the use of local languages in Parliament, saying some Members of Parliament (MPs) struggle to speak English in the House.

CDEDI executive Director Sylvester Namiwa made the call in a statement read at a press briefing in Lilongwe today.

According to Namiwa, use of local languages will lead to meaningful deliberations in the House.

“We have noted with concern on how some MPs are struggling to express themselves in English, and yet the same people were trusted by their constituents to represent them in the national assembly,” he said.

He added that this will also allow constituents to easily follow what is being discussed in Parliament.

Section 51 of the Constitution of Malawi says one of the qualifications for becoming a Member of Parliament is that a person should be “able to speak and to read the English language well enough to take an active part in the proceedings of Parliament.”

During the press conference, Namiwa also called for the need to start discussing whether it is necessary to put age limit for individuals that are aspiring for the country’s presidency or not.

“It is hypocritical, we believe, that one should be deemed to be exhausted to continue working in the civil service at the age of 60, and yet the same person is deemed fit and free to serve in the high office of the presidency at the age of 60 or beyond,” he said.

CDEDI is a non-partisan, nongovernmental organization that was established in a quest to attain a well-informed and organized citizenry that can ably demand their social and economic rights at the same time hold duty bearers accountable for their actions.