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Youthful MPs get seat retention skills

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The British Members of Parliament (MPs) have advised youthful parliamentarians and youthful future leaders in the country to strengthen their interaction with their constituents and fulfil their campaign promises to retain their seats in the National Assembly.

Four United Kingdom MPs, who are also members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA-UK), are visiting Malawi from Monday to Thursday this week, and during the period, they will run a programme for young MPs, looking at good parliamentary practice and procedures.

The members are Oliver Colvile, Kate Osamor, Liam McArthur and Angela Crawley.

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Speaking during the opening of an engagement session at the Parliament building in Lilongwe on Monday, Colvile said MPs need to understand the needs of their constituents.

“In Malawi, you usually depend on rallies to interact with your constituents but the issue is not about holding a lot of rallies. The key thing is for you to directly interact with your constituents and listen to what they are saying in terms of their needs. Interact with your constituents if you want to retain your seats,” Colvile said.

Osamor urged the MPs to adopt the use of what she called surgeries in which an MP establishes a place where constituents are given a chance to brief their legislator on the issues that affect them.

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“For you to be re-elected, you need to move with your constituents and fulfill what you promised them,” Osamor said.

Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya, said there is need to move Parliament to the people and eliminate barriers that impede the youth from participating in politics.

“The objectives of this workshop are in line with the strategic goals of the Strategic Plan of the Parliament of Malawi whose motto is ‘Taking Parliament to the People’ and also building capacity of the MPs so that they are effective in their legislative and oversight work,” Msowoya said.

Fifteen out of 32 youthful legislators under the age of 40 and some youthful future leaders are attending the engagement.

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