By Macdonald Thom:
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) are the only parties that qualify for representation in Parliament’s Business Committee.
National Speaker of Parliament, Catherine Gotani- Hara, Monday said the development was in line with Standing Order 155.
“These three parties will have spokespersons to respond to the State of the Nation Address (Sona) and bills brought to the House,” Gotani- Hara said.
Other parties represented in the House are People’s Party (PP), UTM and Alliance for Democracy (Aford).
In the communication to the MPs at the beginning of yesterday’s deliberations, the Speaker told the House that MCP had elected Lilongwe Central MP Lobin Lowe as Chief Whip with Kasungu South East MP Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda as his deputy.
Gotani-Hara announced that UDF had elected Mangochi South legislator Lilian Patel as the party’s leader in the House and Chikwawa East MP Rodrick Khumbanyiwa as Chief Whip.
She also said Zomba Ntonya MP Nedson Poya is UDF Deputy Chief Whip.
The Speaker also said Zomba Changalume MP John Chikalimba is PP leader in the House with Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua as the Deputy Leader.
Nkhata Bay South East MP Noah Chimpeni is PP’s Chief Whip, deputised by Mzimba South East MP, Ackson Kalaile Banda.
UTM leader will be Nkhata Bay North MP Chrissy Kanyaso, deputised by Blantyre City West MP Steven Mikaya. The party’s chief whip will be Nkhata Bay West legislator Chrispine Mphande.
Gotani, however, said MCP had not submitted the name of its leader in the House.
Lowe later told the House that the party did not belong to the opposition benches.
“Allow me to put it on record that we don’t belong here. We know where we belong. As a party, Malawi Congress Party, mighty Malawi Congress Party, we will not respond to the State of the Nation Address. We don’t recognise the presidency of DPP as the presidency of Malawi. We are here to discuss and pass the provisional budget nothing else,” Lowe said.
The decision not to allow some parties’ leaders to respond to issues raised in the House did not go down well with Chikalimba.