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Speaker bans use of electronic gadgets #Malawi

The Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda has ruled that the use of laptops or smartphones in the House would not be allowed because MPs would not be able to concentrate on business on the floor.

His ruling was delivered after some MPs raised concern on Wednesday when Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara was seen working on his laptop as deliberations in the House were underway.

Chimunthu Banda cited standing orders of several countries on the use of electronic gadgets such as United Kingdom where he said gadgets were allowed but not of a size larger than A4.

“The use of laptops, smartphones or Ipads is disallowed but this matter is still open for discussion,” Chimunthu Banda said.

The MPs were all given laptops on loan to minimise on the use of paper but they were told not to use them in the House.

MP for Kasungu West Otria Moyo Jere was the one who brought the matter to the attention of the Speaker even though Kasambara could be clearly seen on his laptop on the government front row.

But the speaker could not rule on the matter immediately prompting Lilongwe Msozi South MP Vitus Dzoole Mwale to describe Kasambara as ‘not honourable.’

“Mr Speaker already made a ruling that Honourable members cannot use computers in the House. Honourable members are these here who are not using computers, except for the Minister of Justice,” Dzoole Mwale said.
Kasambara is the only non-MP member in Parliament and President Joyce Banda’s cabinet.

However, he did not take exception to the thinly veiled insult that he was not honourable but the Speaker ordered him to put away his laptop. – By Suzgo Khunga

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