By Iommie Chiwalo
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), has resolved to hold a vigil at the National Assembly in the Capital Lilongwe, as a result of failure by parliamentary leadership to honour the 48-hour ultimatum which was given to have matters surrounding the infamous smuggled bill settled.
According to CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa the vigil will start from Wednesday, August 11, 2021, until the Clerk of Parliament, madam Fiona Kalemba, together with the Speaker Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara, and the Leader of the House Hon. Richard Chimwendo Banda, have addressed issues surrounding the mysterious bill that was smuggled into the National Assembly, a few weeks ago.
Namiwa says the vigil also aims to force President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, to immediately set up a committee to investigate and report back to Malawians on the motive behind the smuggling of the bill, that sought parliaments approval to secure MK93 billion, as a loan from the Bank of Baroda, for the construction of houses for the country’s security officers.
“The decision to hold a vigil at the parliament building, follows an expiry of a 48-hour ultimatum we gave madam Kalemba, Hon. Gotani Hara, Hon Chimwendo Banda, and the Leader of Opposition, Hon. Kondwani Nankhumwa, who has since given his side of the story, as per our earlier demands,” he says.
The smuggled bill saga came to light after Nation Publications Limited (NPL), reported few weeks ago that the draft piece, No. 22 of 2021, Bank of Baroda (construction of residential houses under the National Housing Project, and various security institutions), Loan Authorisation Bill, allowing the Malawi government to borrow MK93 billion, to finance the construction of houses for security agency workers in the country, mysteriously found its way onto the order paper in parliament.
In view of this, CDEDI demanded President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, to act decisively on the matter, by instituting an independent committee to investigate the scandal and report back to Malawians within 30 days.
“We further demanded Hon. Gotani-Hara, Hon. Chimwendo Banda, Hon. Nankhumwa, and madam Kalemba, to exonerate themselves from this mafia kind of syndicate and now that the 48 hours have elapsed, CDEDI has taken it upon itself to hold vigil at the parliament building,” he says.
Namiwa has since kindly invited Malawians of goodwill to join CDEDI at the parliament building for the vigil, should they wish to do so.
He has also disclosed that Lilongwe City Council has already been notified about CDEDI’s intention to hold the vigil at the parliament building.
“Therefore, it is our expectation that the Malawi Police Service (MPS) will provide security, as per their constitutional mandate,”