CDEDI to hold vigil at Parliament over loan bill

The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) says it will hold a vigil at Parliament Building on Wednesday to force the National Assembly to address issues surrounding the K93 billion loan bill and to demand President Lazarus Chakwera to set up a committee to investigate the smuggling of the bill into Parliament.

CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa told Journalists in Lilongwe on Monday that the vigil will be held at the gates of Parliament Building in Lilongwe from Wednesday up until the Parliament officials speak out.

Namiwa flanked by CDEDI officials during the press briefing

“If they don’t speak out, we will continue camping at the gates of Parliament,” said Namiwa.

The loan bill seeks Parliament’s approval for Malawi Government to borrow MK93 billion from the Bank of Baroda for the construction of houses for men and women in uniform.

The bill was placed on parliament’s order paper in July allegedly through the influence of President Chakwera’s advisor at the time Pastor Martin Thom. However, the bill was removed without being tabled.

Last week, Police arrested Thom and Nations Msowoya, a senior official from the Ministry of Finance.

Namiwa said Clerk of Parliament Fiona Kalemba, together with the Speaker Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara, and the Leader of the House Hon. Richard Chimwendo Banda have not provided any explanation on how the bill ended up on the order paper in Parliament.

“Their silence is an insult to the intelligence of Malawians because they are setting the impression that Parliament was not involved.

“But it is an open secret that there is no way a bill can find its way on the order paper without the involvement of   Clerk of Parliament, Speaker, Leader of Opposition and the Leader of the House,” said Namiwa.

He then urged Malawians to join CDEDI in the vigils which are aimed at protecting public funds.

Namiwa also noted that Pastor Thom who was arrested and fired by President Chakwera on Tuesday last week was released the same day on bail and he has since travelled to India.

The CDEDI executive director has given Inspector General of Police George Kainja 48 hours to explain to Malawians why Thom’s passport was not seized by the police.

“We are demanding IG to release the bail conditions attached to Pastor Thom’s release,” said Namiwa. “We think Kainja is practicing political persecution or else selective application of justice and that is why we have given him 48 hours to exonerate himself.”