Confusion has emerged among members of Parliament on whether President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika’s speech delivered during the official opening of the 46th session of Parliament was State of the National Address (SONA) or not.
The confusion comes in due to the fact that the order papers continue to indicate that the Speech was a SONA while the government side insists that the speech was not a SONA.
Adding his voice on Mutharika’s speech on Wednesday, Opposition People’s Party (PP) deputy leader in Parliament Ralph Juma questioned the speech saying despite protests from the government side, Parliament’s order papers continue to indicate that the President delivered a Sona in the House.
“Whether this is a State of The Nation Address or just a statement, since yesterday [Tuesday] we have been told this is not a State of the Nation Address, yet on the order paper it has been indicating that as MPs we are responding to the President’s State of the Nation Address. Nobody has disputed that. The issue is that we have had a State of the Nation Address which is lacking in detail,” he said.
On his part, Nkhata Bay Central MP Ralph Mhone (PP), a lawyer said the President was supposed to deliver a Sona.
It took the intervention of the Speaker to stop debate on the matter, saying while the matter was debatable, it was distracting the attention of the House from serious issue.
Meanwhile the house has been adjourned to Monday afternoon next week where MPs will continue adding their voice on Mutharika’s speech.