First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Madalitso Kazombo has told legislators to respect former and sitting presidents when conducting business in the House.
He said this after Lilongwe City Centre legislator Alfred Jiya (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) reflected on a former president, whose name he did not mention, claiming people with albinism visited him to express concern that they were living in fear following the discovery of a mass grave in Mtangatanga Forest in Mzimba District.
Parliamentarians deliberating business in the House
The lawmaker said he connected the dots as a stepson to that former president was arrested in connection with the mass grave, and that the former president was in 2018 implicated in a case of killing people with albinism.
But these remarks did not please Kazombo, Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members of Parliament.
Chimwendo Banda, who is also Minister of Youth and Sports, reminded the House that it is prohibited from mentioning people who cannot defend themselves in Parliament.
Kazombo called on Jiya to withdraw his statement, adding people who cannot defend themselves in Parliament should not be dragged into parliamentary debates and that former and sitting presidents should be respected.
“According to our own standing orders, we are not supposed to mention names of people who cannot defend themselves. I, therefore, rule that you withdraw that statement,” he said.
Jiya was reluctant to withdraw the statement, saying he had not mentioned any name but Kazombo insisted that he withdrew.
Jiya then complied and withdrew the statement, but he maintained that he did not mention any name.
Before Jiya’s statement, Nkhotakota North East legislator Overstone Kondowe (MCP) also expressed worry about the security of people with albinism, following the discovery of the mass grave.
However, Minister of Homeland Security Jean Sendeza said none of the bodies found in Mtangatanga Forest was of a person with albinism.
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati said government is constructing houses for people with albinism as a way of ensuring that they are protected.
Mwanza Central legislator Nicholas Dausi commended Kazombo and Banda for guiding the House on the need to respect presidents.
He also commended Sendeza for properly handling the concerns on the mass grave.
Police on Wednesday arrested Tadikira Mafubza, a stepson of former president Peter Mutharika, in connection with the mass grave of about 30 suspected illegal immigrants.n