Iconic Balaka-based musician ‘Sir’ Paul Banda is reportedly critically ill and requires specialist medical attention abroad. But when the Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa addressed Parliament on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 and made reference to the matter, government was not amused.
In his response to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) presented on May 3, 2021 in the 3rd Meeting of the 49th Session of Parliament and the 2021/2022 Budget Session, the Leader of Opposition requested parliamentarians to “to contribute funds towards Sir Paul Banda’s medical treatment abroad”.
“On a very special note, let me inform this August House that our own music legend, Sir Paul Banda, has been unwell for some time. Sir Paul Banda has, for decades, played a very significant role in the political, and social and economic development of this through music.
“Through Alleluyah Band, Sir Paul Banda has inspired many people; trained and mentored many musicians, including his young brother ‘Soldier’ Lucius Banda, Billy Kaunda, Charles Msaku, Mlaka Maliro, among others,” he said and suggested that an ad-hoc parliamentary committee comprising MPs Bertha Ndebele, Malume Bokosi, Owen Chomanika, Billy Kaunda and Monica Chayang’anamuno be formed “to manage the fundraising drive and ensure that we raise the funds in the shortest time possible”.
But as soon as Nankhumwa wrapped up his presentation, Minister of Tourism Michael ‘Manganya’ Usi stood on a ‘point-of-order’, arguing that Nankhumwa was wrong to bring the matter into the House, especially considering that government, through his department of culture, was already taking care of Paul Banda’s welfare. The minister ‘reprimanded’ the Leader of Opposition for discussing someone’s illness “in public”, claiming it can cause trauma on the patient and his family.
However, Nankhumwa counter-argued, saying he did not just dream about it but had actually met the patient and discussed his plight at length. “I find nothing wrong in seeking financial support on behalf of a patient who needs specialist medical attention abroad; I just find it very necessary, especially also that I discussed this with him,” he said.
In her ruling on the matter, Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara said she found nothing wrong with Nankhumwa’s request for financial assistance, even if government was offering assistance. In his speech, the Leader of Opposition noted that artists contribute immensely to the development of the country and well-being of society.
“Through their various artistic works, they reshape our country into a better place to live in. It is in this vein that I urge all of us, including government, to support our various artists in whatever way possible in creating a conducive environment for their work,” he said.
He urged Malawians to love one another and to co-exist peacefully regardless of differences in political persuasions, race, tribe and religion