Some of the independent legislators who met President Peter Mutharika on 1 June 2019 at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre, where they were lure to join his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Parliament have clarified they have not joined the governing party’s fold but will be in support.
Some members who attended the Sanjika meeting were also said to have met leader of oppositition Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and pledged their support to the opposition benches for checks and balances.
“At Sanjika Palace the DPP was coaxing us as an independent block to support them during the elections of Speaker but as a block we can meet anyone even if Dr Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party wants us today we are ready to see him,” said one of the legislators from central region.
He said the Sanjika meeting was purely for Parliamentary business.
The legislator added that the members will make personal choices with their areas and Constituency committees on whether to join DPP or MCP, saying the decision is personal.
The presidential press secretary Mgeme Kalilani confirmed that the President met 30 of the newly-elected independent members of Parliament (MPs) at the presidential palace.
He said the Independents who came to Sanjika “ would want to work with government.”
And DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, in a separate interview, said the governing party has an open-door policy and will welcome all those seeking to work with it.
“Politics is dynamic and the DPP has an open-door policy. All those that want to serve people are welcome to join us. People are elected to serve, it is a service to the community,” he said.
The independents who met Mutharika include Joseph Nomale who floored long-time legislator and ex-Cabinet minister Henry Mussa in Chiradzulu East, Ephraim Abele Kayembe of Dowa West and Mzimba West’s Billy Kaunda.
Mzimba Luwerezi’s Sam Chirwa, who did not attend the Saturday meeting, also declared his interest to work with government.
The newly-elected legislator, who is husband to former Cabinet minister Grace Chiumia, said he was the first to express interest to work with government.
In the parliamentary race in the May 21 Tripartite Elections, DPP won 62 seats in the 193-seat National Assembly while Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and independents got 55 each. The other seats were shared as follows: United Democratic Front (UDF) 10 seats, People’s Party (PP) five, UTM Party four and Alliance for Democracy (Aford) one. Elections were held in 192 constituencies.
Parliament has set June 17 and 18 as dates for swearing in the 2019-2019 cohort of legislators.
Clerk of Parliament Fiona Kalemba said in a statement that the legislators’ oath of office will be followed by election of the House’s Speaker, First Deputy Speaker and Second Deputy Speaker.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :