Debate came to a standstill in the National Assembly on Monday afternoon following a commotion that erupted between opposition MPs and government benches over the future of suspended Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Dr. George Chaponda who is also leader of the house.

Chaponda shunned Parliament on Monday forcing opposition MPs to press the speaker to clarify on how the house will conduct its business without the leader of the house.

The whole issue was started Peoples Party (PP) leader Uladi Mussa and Salima north west Jessie Kabwila asked Speaker Richard Msowoya to announce in the House that Chaponda is officially suspended from the House following the court order.

In his response, Msowoya said his office has not received any official communication both from the court and the government side and he cannot make a decision based on hearsays.

The response attracted ululation from government benches while opposition MPs were up in arms questions the Speaker, saying he is not being fair to the house.

The issue went out of hand when Blantyre north MP Francis Phiso said Kabwila had no moral grounds to scorn Chaponda when herself was answering a court case and is on bail.

This did not please Kabwila who retaliated by President Peter Mutharika and some of his cabinet members; Goodall Gondwe, Patricia Kaliati, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Henry Mussa, Bright Msaka and Jean Kalirani who were charged with treason are also on court bail.

Peace returned in the house after Speaker of the National Assembly pleaded with both side of the house to avoid provoking each other when making contributions in the house.

Meanwhile the house resumes its meeting today.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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