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Malawi lawmakers force salary increase for members into national budget

Members of Parliament (MPS) in Malawi have passed a MK1.454 trillion National Budget for the 2018/19 fiscal year—after dramatically forcing the government to increase their salaries and allowances and increase development funding

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Members of Parliament (MPS) in Malawi have passed a MK1.454 trillion National Budget for the 2018/19 fiscal year—after dramatically forcing the government to increase their salaries and allowances and increase development funding.

With the parliamentary Order Paper showing there were only 15 votes to screen before the passing of the budget in the Chamber in Lilongwe yesterday, the
lawmakers paralysed the key Committee of Supply budgetary process, saying they could not proceed unless their needs, especially perks, were taken care of by government.

Earlier in the week, the legislators had asked for a 10 percent increase to their salaries and allowances.

They also pressed government to top up on constituency and local development funds (CDF and LDF), now that development projects have stalled and as they need to complete the projects in a few months—before the Tripartite Elections next year.

Business was duly suspended in the House, to make way for discussions over the issues raised by the MPs.

After about an hour of the discussions, the legislators seemed cheerful as Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa and Leader of the Opposition Lazarus Chakwera announced that the issues had been resolved.

The MPs then went into a fast-forward mode in approving the votes, with First Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka-Chilenje, as chair of the Committee of Supply, proving her experience in handling the often-dicey session well.

When Mcheka-Chilenje announced the passing of the budget, many MPs erupted into hand-clapping, with others giving a standing ovation, probably in saluting themselves and their Speakers.

Both Nankhumwa and Chakwera expressed joy that the budget had been passed after substantive debates by members on both sides of the House.

“The queries the MPs had tabled were resolved, including the outcry for salary and allowance increases,” said Nankhumwa. He did not give further details.
He said the key Appropriation Bill will be tabled on Monday, adding that the House will also tackle several other issues of national interest.

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Politics

South Africa: Parliament reelects Cyril Ramaphosa as president

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President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been re-elected for a second term. He was nominated for re-election on Friday by a member of his African National Congress (ANC) party during the first sitting of parliament following last month’s election.

Julius Malema, the opposition Economic Freedom Fighter, was also put forward for the nation’s presidency, necessitating a vote in parliament to determine the winner.

With a majority of votes in the National Assembly, Chief Justice Ramaphosa was proclaimed president. Julius Malema, the leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party, received 44 votes, while Ramaphosa received 283.

The Democratic Alliance party said earlier in the day that it would support Ramaphosa in the election as part of a deal to establish a unity government with the African National Congress.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been re-elected for a second term. He was nominated for re-election on Friday by a member of his African National Congress (ANC) party during the first sitting of parliament following last month’s election.

Out of the 400 seats in the recently elected National Assembly, 246 are held by the ANC and DA.

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Politics

Niamey court revokes immunity of overthrown Nigerien president

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The State Court of Niamey has revoked the immunity of Niger’s deposed President, Mohamed Bazoum, signalling the start of criminal proceedings against him by the junta, according to a statement from his attorneys on Friday.

In July of last year, a military coup overthrew Bazoum. Since then, he and his spouse have remained in custody despite numerous requests for his release from Western nations and the ECOWAS regional political and economic grouping.

 

Colonel Amadou Abdramane, the junta’s spokesperson, stated on state television in August that the military government had “gathered the necessary evidence to prosecute the ousted president and his local and foreign accomplices for high treason and for undermining the internal and external security of Niger before competent national and international authorities.”

In a statement, one of his attorneys, Moussa Coulibaly, claimed that the court’s ruling cleared the path for Bazoum to face charges of treason and conspiracy to compromise state security.

The court proceedings “violated (ed) the absolute rights of the defence: we were not authorised to meet our client and the court refused to hear our arguments,” he added.

It was not immediately able to get in contact with the Niger government for a response. Because of Bazoum’s interactions with foreign heads of state and international organizations, the junta declared last year that it would bring high treason charges against him.

Following 2020, there have been eight coups in West and Central Africa that have brought the military government to power. Calls for Bazoum’s reinstatement have gone unanswered, including by the ECOWAS Court of Justice, which declared last year that his arrest was unjustified.

According to Bazoum’s attorneys, he and his spouse had never appeared before a magistrate. Lawyers said that since October, when their phone line at the White House was taken away, they have been cut off from the outside world and are only permitted to have visitors from their doctor.

Mohamed Bazoum Salem, the 23-year-old son of the deposed president, was given provisional parole from house imprisonment by the Niger military tribunal in January.

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