Should MalawianMPS Get Paid Even After Their Term of Office?

Malawian Parliament Building

The definition of retirement refers to that part of any person’s life when they choose to leave their work-life behind permanently. Many people decide to quit their workforce when they are old or sick enough to no longer contribute.

First, I would like to begin by saying that retirement is a vitally important stage of life and can be one of the most fulfilling. It provides an opportunity to focus on personal goals, experiences, hobbies, and relationships that were put on the back burner during working years.

Secondly, let’s look at Welani Chilenga’s Motion, the drama of this week:

“In his notice of a Private Member’s Motion, dated August 1, 2023, Hon Werani Chilenga wants Parliament to resolve that ex-MPs should be receiving a monthly salary at half the amount they were getting at the time of getting out of their position.

It reads: “The Honourable Member for Chitipa South gives notice under Standing Order 74 of his intention to move the following Motion:

“That considering the important service that a Member of Parliament offers to this nation during his/her tenure of office and noting that all Presiding Officers are entitled to some kind of a pension after leaving office, concerned with the lack of any pension arrangement for an ex-MP, this House resolves that ex- MPs should be receiving, on a monthly basis, half of the salary at which they exited for the rest of their lives,” the notice reads.”

According to the UK Parliament, the MPs’ pension scheme, called the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF), is the pension scheme for MPs. The Fund is actually made up of two schemes – the MPs’ Pension Scheme and also a scheme for Ministers called the Ministerial Pension Scheme.

Thirdly, the good argument is that with an effective retirement or pension plan in place, you can easily reduce the stress you might ordinarily experience regarding your future financial situation. Not having to worry about money means that you don’t have to endure the stress that goes along with it.

Unfortunately, fragmented government service delivery during a research trip to Malawi in 2012, a senior government official commented that nearly two decades after the government had renewed its commitment to democratic decentralization, the working of local government in Malawi was something of a ‘black box’.

The manner in which many parliamentarians conduct themselves during deliberations in the House of law leaves a lot to be desired. Malawians are quite aware of what goes on in Parliament, and it is a huge disappointment. The same questions and answers are repeated time and again at the expense of sitting allowances.

Therefore, I want to suggest that Members of Parliament in Malawi do not deserve continued half monthly salary for the rest of their lives because they don’t deserve it. There are no good reasons for spending such a sum of money. In fact, I propose that MPs’ salaries should be reduced. They are being overpaid.

Fourthly, we acknowledge that some members of Parliament are doing good work, and some remarkable successes are achieved with little money or support. Good laws are being made and deliberated in Parliament, and developmental projects are implemented.

However, the introduction of a pension act to the losing lawmakers is very disturbing, especially at this moment when millions of citizens of this country are struggling to survive every day. It also appears Welani Chilenga’s constituency is one of the least developed constituencies in Malawi, and I think it’s all because the Hon member is not developmentally conscious.

After all, the general attitude of our National Assembly isn’t good towards reporting for work each time Parliament opens. Leader of the house Richard Chimwendo Banda has defended the House, stating that many lawmakers were absent at the beginning of the Parliament session during the first week due to fuel shortages. I agree that fuel shortages affect many people in the operation of their normal duties, but I wish to disagree with the Leader of the House and point out that this is not the first time we have observed MPs absenting themselves from Parliament, particularly during the first week of the session.

While I argue on this matter, some Members of Parliament are making progress despite few resources and poor systems, facing few incentives to improve performance at their constituencies.

In conclusion, we recognize the contribution of hardworking MPs working in difficult conditions, in very remote areas. However, their salaries are on the higher side compared to civil servants in Malawi. Besides, we don’t have that kind of money to spend on the majority of lawmakers who are not helping this nation. Let Hon Welani Chilenga deposit half of his monthly salary in a fixed deposit account or invest now in different businesses before the end of his term.