In a somber turn of events, Members of Parliament from the opposition bench in Malawi have been allowed to attend the delivery of the State of the Nation Address (Sona) by President Chakwera while dressed in sack cloth. The Speaker of the National Assembly, Catherine Gotani Hara, made the controversial decision to allow the MPs to attend in the unconventional attire, which caused a commotion in the House.
Leader of the House, Richard Chimwendo Banda, stood on a point of order, seeking the speaker’s intervention on the matter. However, after thorough deliberation, the deputy Leader of the House, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, suggested that the issue be handled later on by the legal affairs committee to avoid wasting time. The Speaker eventually agreed with Chiponda and allowed the MPs dressed in sack cloth to attend the delivery of the Sona.
The opposition MPs dressed in sack cloth as a way of sending a message to President Chakwera that things are not well in Malawi. The country’s economy has been in a bad shape with no hope in sight. The President himself admitted to the dire situation, citing climate change (storms) which has led to the destruction of infrastructure and electricity generation capacity. The fuel shortage in the past months has also affected the economy as industries resorted to using expensive diesel for their manufacturing purposes.
President Chakwera’s top priority is to restructure the economy to create food security, wealth, and accelerate the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals. However, the situation in the country remains bleak, and the opposition MPs’ actions serve as a stark reminder of the harsh reality facing the people of Malawi.
The decision to allow the MPs to attend the Sona in sack cloth shows the level of desperation and frustration that many people in Malawi are feeling. It is a symbol of their suffering and a call for action to be taken to alleviate the difficult conditions they are facing. It is a sad state of affairs for a country that is struggling to find a way out of the economic crisis it finds itself in.