Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has scooped leadership of 14 of the 20 parliamentary committees during elections held on Friday.
Democratic Progress Party (DPP) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) which amassed 50 seats and 48 seats were allocated five members each per committee whereas United Democratic Front (UDF), which won 14 members of Parliament (MPs) and Alliance for Democracy (Aford) were allocated one place in each committee with the former governing People’s Party (PP) which has 26 seats getting three places.
MCP spokesperson Jessie Kabwila yesterday confirmed that the party’s MPs had been elected chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of various committees, including the crucial Budget and Finance, Public Accounts and Public Appointments and Declaration of Assets.
Kabwila herself has been elected chairperson of the Women Caucus in Parliament which comprises all female MPs, including Cabinet ministers and deputy ministers.
Said Kabwila: “There’s a need to analyse why the DPP and PP have not done well in these Parliamentary committees, but as MCP we are happy and ready to serve Malawians.”
According to new Standing Orders Parliament adopted last November, constitutionally established committees such as Legal Affairs, Public Appointments and Declaration of Assets, Public Accounts, Defence and Security and Budget and Finance are supposed to be chaired by opposition MPs for effective checks and balances.
PP has taken the chairmanship of the newly established Government Assurances Committee mandated to keep track of responses to oral questions posed by MPs during question time. It is chaired by Harry Mkandawire while the Reverend Christopher Ngwira is chairing Privileges Committee and Werani Chilenga heads one on Climate Change.
In an interview yesterday, DPP chief whip Henry Mussa said the party hoped to lead committees which would be contested for in the coming days.
Among the MCP MPs, experienced parliamentarian Lingson Belekanyama has been elected to chair the Public Appointments Committee (PAC), Alekeni Menyani will be chairperson for Public Accounts Committee while Rhino Chiphiko will head the Budget and Finance Committee.
Lilongwe South East MP Willard Gwengwe, who has been in Parliament since 2009, has been elected chairperson of Trade and Commerce Committee, former chairperson of Farmers Union of Malawi Felix Jumbe will head Agriculture Committee.
Juliana Lunguzi, who has been elected chairperson of Health committee, said her committee would work with government at policy and service delivery level.
Other committees which have gone to MCP include Media and Communications, Social Welfare, HIV and Aids, Education, Natural Resources and Local Government and Decentralisation.
The sole Aford MP in the House, Enock Chihana, has been tasked to lead the Defence and Security Committee with PeterChalera of MCP as his deputy.