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Mcheka Chilenje, Gotani Hara in speakership battle

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By Rebecca Chimjeka:

EARMARKED—Gotani Hara

All eyes will this afternoon beat Parliament Building where members of Parliament (MPs) are expected to elect Speaker of Parliament.

It is a battle reported to be between Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), its allies and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and its allies.

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MCP secretary general, Eisenhower Mkaka, said they had proposed Mzimba North East MP, Catherine Gotani Hara, for the speakership.

“As a party, we have proposed Catherine Hara’s name for the position of Speaker,” Mkaka said.

DPP publicity secretary, Nicholas Dausi, said the party was discussing the names it would nominate for the positions of speaker, first deputy speaker and second deputy speaker.

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However, sources at Parliament confided in The Daily Times that DPP had proposed, to the Clerk of Parliament’s office, the name of Nsanje North MP, Esther Mcheka-Chilenje.

It has also nominated Chitipa South MP Werani Chilenga and Mangochi Nkungulu MP Aisha Adams for first deputy speaker and second deputy speaker position, respectively.

Mcheka-Chilenje and Chilenga are DPP members while Adams is for United Democratic Front (UDF).

But UDF publicity secretary, Ken Ndanga, said they proposed two names for the position of second deputy speaker.

“We are still discussing two names, ones of which will be announced Wednesday [today],” Ndanga said.

DPP has 62 MPs while 55 are independent MPs. MCP has 55 MPs, UDF has 10, People’s Party (five), UTM (four) while Alliance for Democracy has one MP.

Meanwhile, political analyst Ernest Thindwa has advised the lawmakers to elect a person who will have national interest at heart.

“Parliament has tended to be relatively responsive to issues of national interest when the Speaker is from the opposition. When the Speaker is from the ruling party, the position has tended to be abused and the Speaker has tended to be a tool for the ruling party as impartiality has heavily been compromised. The MPs must elect someone who has the welfare of the people at heart, someone who will put national interests first,” Thindwa said.

Gotani Hara, once served as Mzimba North East MP from 2009 to 2014.

She once served as Minister of Health, Minister of Environment, Deputy Minister of Gender and Deputy Minister of Transport.

Mcheka-Chilenje, on the other hand, served as first deputy speaker for two terms—from 2004 to 2009 and 2014 to 2019.

Whoever wins between the two would succeed immediate past Speaker Richard Msowoya, who did not contest in Karonga Nyungwe Constituency in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

Msowoya served from 2014 to 2019.

Msowoya succeeded Henry Chimunthu Banda, who did not participate in 2014 parliamentary elections. Banda has, however, been re-elected as Nkhotakota North MP.

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