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Expectations high ahead of Sona

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By Pilirani Kachinziri:

HAVE TO DELIVER THE GOODS— Some of Malawi’s new legislators

The citizenry has high expectations from newly elected members of Parliament (MPs) ahead of President Peter Mutharika’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) at Parliament Building in Lilongwe.

On May 21, Malawians went to the polls to elect President, MPs and ward councillors. In terms of legislators, the governing Democratic Progressive Party(DPP) won 62 seats, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) got 55, People’s Party secured 5, United Democratic Front 10 while UTM got 4 seats.

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The rest are independent MPs, forming a large, divided block because, as at now, the majority are DPP and MCP sympathisers. In fact, some of them have expressed interest in working with these parties.

Political analysts acknowledge that, while the dust is yet to settle on the outcome of the May 21 presidential election, it is time to put national interests before partisan politics.

Political analyst Emily Mkamanga said it would be a pity if parliamentarians spent most of their time talking about issues of the unsettled presidential election case instead of concentrating on issues that affect the lives of ordinary people.

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“What they discuss should allude to the fact that people want better lives. People [in Malawi] live in dire poverty,” she said.

From Nkhotakota District, Traditional Authority Mwansambo said he expected the new Parliament to be people-centred.

“Those MPs have seen how big names fell in the May 21 elections because they did not serve the people well. People we thought could not lose lost miserably. So, MPs have no choice but to put the interests of people who elected them first,” he said.

Senior Chief Malemia of Nsanje District said parliamentarians had a number of bills to deliberate on.

“We voted them in for a purpose. We need them to discuss bills that concern people. We need drugs in hospitals, health personnel and teachers must be paid in good time. They need to pass bills that will protect people with albinism,” Senior Chief Malemia said.

Ernest Hara, a Blantyre-based small scale businessman, said he expected lawmakers to, through wise deliberations, shore up the country’s economy.

“It is disappointing that the country is not developing because our Parliament has wrong priorities and MPs are divided. They forget that we employ them to improve our lives,” he said.

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