By Rebecca Chimjeka:
The race to elect a Speaker of Parliament has started, with names of people from governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) thrown in the hat ahead of the June 19 2019 elections.
The Speaker to succeed Richard Msowoya would be decided by a simple majority and voting is by secret ballot in Parliament Chamber.
The Daily Times has established that some members of Parliament (MPs) have started endorsing candidates for the position.
MCP Lilongwe City West MP, George Zulu, said he would endorse Catherine Gotani-Hara for the post as time had come for Malawi to have a female Speaker.
“My vote goes to honourable Catherine Gotani-Hara. I, therefore, ask all other honourable members, irrespective of party affiliations, to give her the needed support as the right candidate for the position of Speaker of Parliament,” Zulu said.
Reports indicate that some MCP members have earmarked for the post Ken Zikhale Ngoma and independent MP Nancy Tembo of Lilongwe City South West.
Sources say DPP, which commands the majority of MPs in the House, has earmarked former Cabinet minister Bright Msaka for the post.
DPP has strong chances to push for the election of Msaka as Speaker because they have many, 62 MPs of which 44 are men and 18 female, and they are also courting 30 out of 55 independent legislators.
A total of 41 of the independent MPs are male. MCP has 55 MPs of whom 46 are male.
However, Gotani-Hara may make it with support from fellow female MPs.
Zikhale-Ng’oma said he was willing to stand for speakership.
“Yes, I am vying for the position but this will depend on the party’s decision,” he said.
The post of Deputy Speaker has reportedly attracted Esther Mcheka- Chilenje, Aisha Adam’s from United Democratic Front and an independent MP.
Mzimba South MP, Emmanuel Jere, confirmed his interest in standing for Second Deputy Speaker position.
“As a youthful Member of Parliament, I want to be part of changing the game so that, through my leadership qualities, Malawians can appreciate the leading role of the youth in Parliament,” Jere said.
MCP secretary general, Eisenhower Mkaka, said: “The party will come up with a position on the choice of Speaker before the end of the week.”
DPP spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi, said the party was discussing the matter before deciding on the name for the speakership.
“We are still in the process of choosing one,” Dausi said.
Meanwhile, Parliament has changed the way the Speaker and Deputy speakers are nominated to their respective offices.
In the past, MPs nominated candidates for the positions on the actual day of the elections.
But, now, Parliament has developed a nomination form which all MPs intending to nominate the speakers must fill before the election.
Parliament distributed the forms to all the legislators yesterday and they are expected to make their nominations prior to or before 9:30am on the day of the elections.
The form has a section where two other MPs are expected to second the nomination.
The nomination is also supposed have consent from the MP being nominated.
Senior Assistant Clerk of Parliament, Joseph Manzi, said all MPs have been notified on the process.