Malawi: Fury as President’s aide takes loan bill to parliament without approval .
By Joseph Dumbula
There is an on-going outrage over the State House after President Lazarus Chakwera’s aide has been fired for ‘smuggling’ into parliament a loan authorization bill without due procedures.
Martin Thom, President Chakwera’s aide on special duties reportedly took to parliament the bill which would see the Southern African nation acquire a loan amounting to 93 billion kwacha (About $114,000) meant for the construction of house for security agencies.
Thom was later arrested together with Ministry of Finance Debt and Aid Management director Nations Msowoya in connection with a probe into the mysterious push of the Bill to the July 9 2021 Order Paper—an outline of business to be tackled in Parliament.
This, has not gone well with civil society organisations as well as some quarters within the confines of parliament.
By way of procedure, bills are supposed to be approved by the cabinet, copied to the Minister of Justice as well as the office of the Attorney General (which apparently is vacant as Chakwera axed Chikosa Silungwe over unspecified reasons weeks ago).
Now, the matter has opened a can of worms over continuously leaking documents as well as mismatches in communications and government entities.
For instance, Chakwera has recently had a tall order in clearing the mist surrounding the appointment of his daughter on diplomatic mission to Brussels as it was initially confirmed by his press secretary.
Parliamentary Standing Order 121 states that the AG has to sign government Bills that Capital Hill originates as does the Attorney General’s Memorandum on Drafting of Bills in Malawi.
Stages in processing a Bill also stipulate that once a Bill is cleared by Cabinet it has to be published and thereafter placed before the House, normally 21 days before the House meets.
A political analyst has described the development as an indication of a rotten system amid revelations that a multibillion kwacha loan authorization bill was smuggled into parliament.
Victor Chipofya Jnr, that there is need for Chakwera to treat the incident which happened behind his back as a matter of urgency.
Malawi’s social media circles is currently covered with calls for the President to routinely check practices of people that surround him with a belief to avoid his image from being tarnished.