Goodall Gondwe, the Vice President of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Thursday accused Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda of siding with the government and attempting to block the opposition voice in Parliament.
Gondwe who is Mzimba North MP and finds himself in the opposition benches made the accusation when the Speaker intervened as the government and the opposition tussled over deliberations in the house.
Gondwe was unimpressed by Chimunthu for allowing the government side to move a motion to start government business including debate on first reading of bills among them the Disability Bill.
He contended that the move was inappropriate and not procedural as Thursdays are reserved for private member’s motions while attempts by Chimunthu and Leader of the House Henry Phoya to explain that no backbencher per tradition had asked to move any motion.
After several attempts rising on point of order to challenge the Speaker on his decision, Gondwe accused the speaker of siding with the government side.
“You are gagging us, Mr. Speaker sir, we have no wish to disrupt government business, but we need to move procedurally,” he said amid interjections from government benches of imeneyo ndiye opposition-yo (this is how it feels to be in opposition).
However, Chimunthu was not amused by the remarks and said Gondwe was ungrateful as the Speaker had recognised him to speak on the issue on several occasions.
“Since tea break, there is nobody else who has spoken in this house as you have, you have spoken five times. Where is the gagging issue coming from? As I said, I agree with Mzimba North that Thursdays are private member’s day but it’s a privilege which clearly no backbencher wants to use. So should we stop others from using it?” Chimunthu quizzed.