Chakwera promises constructive opposition: MPs sworn-in to Malawi Parliament

Malawi on Monday started the swearing-in on elected Members of Parliament in the capital Lilongwe, with opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Dr Lazarous Chakwera being the highlight of the day.

Chakwera is expected to assume the leader of opposition title in the House.

He was greeted with applause from family members and MCP supporters as he stood to read the parliamentary oath.

Supporters chanted “Boma! Boma! Boma!” with others screamed his election victory in the presidential race on May 20 was stolen.

MCP president Lazarus Chakwera being sworn in  as Member of Parliament
MCP president Lazarus Chakwera being sworn in as Member of Parliament

Chakwera was given a ceremonial ‘red carpet’ as he exited the Parliament Buildings when the MCP supporters laid down party cloths from the door to the stairs where he shook hands of his supporters accompanied by his wife and MCP vice president Richard Msowoya.

Speaking in an interview after taking his oath, Chakwera, a former church cleric said he will push for “genuine democratic values” in the National Assembly and speak for poor and needy.

Chakwera said MCP will keep the Peter Mutharika’s government on its toes.

He promised that he will head a “constructive” opposition that will play a stronger role to provide checks and balances for the s government.

“We will be a constructive opposition and act in the best interest of the people who elected us,” Chakwera said.

MPs are required by law to take an oath of allegiance and office before they take their seats in Parliament after a general election or by-election.

Until the oath or affirmation is taken, an MP may not receive a salary, take their seat, and speak in debates or vote.

After the swearing-in which will continue tomorrow, the MPs main task will be to elect a new Speaker and two deputies.

Other high profile names who took oath included independent MP David Bisnowaty, DPP’s former parliamentary leader Dr George Chaponda, former wife to a former president Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri, comedian Bon ‘Winiko’ Kalindo.former deputy speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje.

Roy Kachale Banda, son of former President Dr. Joyce Banda was among the first to take oath of office as Member of Parliament.

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