Parliament has elected Malawi Congress Party vice president and Member of Parliament for Karonga Nyungwe Richard Msowoya as Speaker of the National Assembly.
The House has also elected Esther Mcheka-Chilenje as First Deputy Speaker. Voting for Second deputy speaker is still underway.
The new Speaker, who replaces Henry Chimunthu Banda, was elected with 101 votes in a secret ballot against Nsanje Central MP Francis Kasaila’s 89 votes while one vote was declared null and void.
All the 191 Members of Parliament were present to elect the new Speaker, touted as a strong and mature man who would conduct business in Parliament in an impartial manner.
As Msowoya went to cast his vote, there were calls of ‘akukwana’ and ‘Speaker’ and similar but muted calls accompanied Kasaila as he walked to the front to cast his ballot.
Dressed in dark gray suit, Msowoya was physically dragged from his seat and deposited into the Speaker’s chair as tradition dictates when acting Clerk of Parliament Roosevelt Gondwe declared him as winner.
In his first remarks as Speaker, Msowoya assured Malawians that under his leadership the Malawi Constitution would be followed.
“I thank all members for electing me. I would like to assure all Malawians that coming from MCP which observes the rule of law that the laws of Malawi, the Constitution will be followed,” Msowoya said.
Chiradzulu South West MP Henry Mussa asked the new Speaker to be impartial and strike a balance between government and opposition while dealing with issues of national importance.
In proposing the name of Msowoya, aged 52 as Speaker for 2014 to 2019, MCP MP Vitus Dzoole Mwale courted controversy and he was booed by the government but applauded by the opposition side of the House when he suggested that the MCP vice president should be elected Speaker to balance power between the regions of Malawi.
Head of the executive, President Peter Mutharika is from the Southern Region while head of the judiciary Chief Justice Anastasia Msosa is also from the Southern region.
“He is a strong, mature Speaker who will conduct business of the House in an impartial manner. We believe Richard Msowoya is the perfect choice,” Dzoole Mwale said.
Msowoya served as a deputy minister of Education prior to 2009 but lost his Karonga Nyungwe seat before he regained it in this year’s election.
Msowoya is a holder of a Masters Degree in Supply Chain Management was also running mate to MCP presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera which further elevated his status on the political arena.
Kasaila, who was touted as an accomplished and self-made made man, withdrew from the race for first deputy speaker, as did Elias Wakuda Kamanga, MP for Kasungu North East who the People’s Party proposed.
Nsanje North MP Esther Mcheka Chilenje Nkhoma was elected unopposed as first deputy speaker, a seat she held between 2004 and 2009.
Kamanga, and DPP proposed candidate for second deputy speaker Mangochi Central MP Clement Chiwaya battled for votes of the House.