United Democratic Front move stirs debate in parliament


Decision by United Democratic Front (UDF) to join government benches became a hot issue Wednesday when some members of parliament wanted to find out more what it meant with in line with other positions.

This was after Speaker Richard Msowoya had at the beginning of the day’s deliberations explained that UDF will not be responding to speeches.

“Now that the UDF is on the government side, it will not be responding to speeches made in the House. However, their Chief Whip continues to be a member of the business committee,” Msowoya said.


The Speaker’s announcement later attracted questions from MPs, mostly from the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

The first raise the issue, after party leaders had responded to President Peter Mutharika’s speech was MP for Dedza South West Clement Mlombwa.

“Following the announcement made this afternoon that UDF is on the government side, I would like to find out more on the composition of the members of the business committee. What does this mean in terms of our Standing Orders?” Mlombwa said.


He cited Standing Order 155 which reads:

“The Business Committee shall consist of: (a) the Speaker, (b) Leader of the House (c) Leader of Opposition (d) Government Chief Whip (e) leaders of parties not in government f) Opposition party Whips (g) Deputy Speakers shall be ex-officio members.”

Salima North MP Kaphamtengo Yona also wanted to know what will happen to the position of Leader of UDF, Lucius Banda, following the movement of the rest of the members to the government benches.

Another MCP MP, Vitus Dzoole Mwale wanted to know from the Speaker what the development meant in relation to Section 65 of the constitution.

Both leader of UDF and Chief Whip have offices within parliament building.

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