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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.

Politics

Like Mali, Burkina Faso junta suspends France’s RFI radio over broadcast of militant speech

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West African country, Burkina Faso has gone the way of its neighbour Mali, as its ruling junta has suspended the broadcast of France’s RFI radio.

The suspension comes after what the junta said were false reports and giving voice to Islamist militants, a statement from the government said on Saturday.

According to a statement by the radio station, “RFI strongly deplores this decision and protests against the totally unfounded accusations calling into question its professionalism,” State-owned Radio France Internationale, usually referred to as RFI.

The statement added that the decision to suspend its broadcasting was made without prior notice and without the implementation of the procedures put in place by Burkina Faso’s communications regulator.

The ruling junta which came into power in a recent coup in September accused the RFI also repeated a press report – which it denied – that Burkina Faso’s President Captain Ibrahim Traore, who seized power in a coup in September, had said there had been an attempted coup trying to unseat him.

Burkina Faso’s neighbour Mali under military reign suspended broadcasts by French state-funded international news outlets RFI and France 24 amid accusations of reporting “false allegations”.

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Politics

Tunisian labour union, UGTT threatens political disruption as elections draws near

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As the North African country, Tunisia braces up for elections, labour union, UGTT has threatened not to disrupt proceedings under the current political arrangement.

UGTT attacked president Saied political and economic agenda on Saturday, including the elections scheduled for this month. The union said that it will no longer accept what it called a threat to democracy in its clearest challenge to him yet.

UGTT’s leader Noureddine Taboubi said in a speech to thousands of supporters, the union will ” no longer accept the current path because of its ambiguity and individual rule, and the unpleasant surprises it hides for the fate of the country and democracy.”

“We will not hesitate to defend rights and freedoms whatever the cost,” he added, in his strongest criticism yet of the president.

“We will not abide by secret agreements the government has with the International Monetary Fund and the workers will stand up to it,” Taboubi said.

Taboubi said the December election would “have no colour and taste” as a result of Saied’s constitution and that the vote lacked national unanimity.

President Kais Saied hinted that the country will not accept foreign observers for the planned elections for later this year.

There have been protests for and against president Saied’s approach to governance of the Tunisian public.

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