The Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) said it will hold a vigil in parliament on Wednesday to force the National Assembly to address issues surrounding the K93 billion loan bill. and to call on President Lazarus Chakwera to set up a committee to investigate the smuggling of the bill into parliament.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa told reporters in Lilongwe on Monday that the vigil will be held at the gates of the Parliament building in Lilongwe from Wednesday until Parliament officials speak.
“If they do not speak, we will continue to camp at the gates of Parliament,” Namiwa said.
The loan bill seeks parliamentary approval for the government of Malawi to borrow MK 93 billion from the Bank of Baroda for the construction of houses for men and women in uniform.
The bill was placed on the Order Paper in July, allegedly under the influence of then-President Chakwera’s advisor, Pastor Martin Thom. However, the bill was withdrawn without being tabled.
Last week, police arrested Thom and Nations Msowoya, a senior finance ministry official.
Namiwa said that Clerk of Parliament Fiona Kalemba, as well as Speaker Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara, and the House Leader, the Hon. Richard Chimwendo Banda did not provide any explanation as to how the bill ended up on the Order Paper.
“Their silence is an insult to the intelligence of Malawians because it gives the impression that Parliament was not involved.
“But it is an open secret that it is impossible for a bill to end up on the Order Paper without the participation of the Clerk of Parliament, the President, the Leader of the Opposition and the House leader,” he said. declared Namiwa.
He then urged Malawians to join CDEDI in vigils 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 on bail the same day and has since traveled to India.
The executive director of CDEDI gave Inspector General of Police George Kainja 48 hours to explain to Malawians why Thom’s passport was not seized by police.
“We call on IG to release the bail conditions associated with the release of Pastor Thom,” Namiwa said. “We believe that Kainja is practicing political persecution or the selective application of justice and that is why we have given him 48 hours to exonerate himself.”