Malawi’s Speaker of Parliament amongst 100 Most Influential African Women 

Malawi’s first female Speaker of Parliament, Right Honourable Catherine Gotani Hara is among 2022 100 Most Influential African Women, joining the likes of Sahle-Work Zewde and Samia Suluhu Hassan — presidents of Ethiopia and Tanzania respectively.
The 2022 100 Most Influential African Women is the 4th edition which is selected by Avance Media, Africa’s leading PR & rating firm and this year’s list is made up of prominent women who represent African women breaking the bias across the world.
The 2022 list includes two Presidents, five Vice-presidents, five Prime Ministers, Ministers, regional CEOs and founders of both profit and none-profit organisations.
The Vice-presidents are Jessica Alupo; Jewel Taylor; Mariam Chabi Talata; Mutale Nalumango; Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior — from Uganda, Liberia, Benin, Zambia and South Sudan respectively.
The list also includes deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed; deputy chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa and also Vanessa Nakate, Elizabeth Wathuti and Bogolo Kenewendo — who are leading various climate action initiatives across the world, marking the introduction of a Climate Change category to the list.
With a record of 36 African countries represented on the list, Nigeria leads with 18 representatives, followed by Kenya (10), Ghana (7), Senegal, (6) and Tanzania (5) and Malawi’s Gotani Hara.
Profiles of the 100 honourees have been published on which quotes Avance Media managing director, Prince Akpah as saying the 4th edition list features women from a record of 36 African countries and represents women who are changing the perception of women breaking barriers in their career, business and life pursuits.
In June this year, Gotani Hara — the first-ever female Speaker of the National Assembly since independence in 1964 — was elected as executive chairperson of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association-African Region.
She was elected during the Association’s 52nd Conference held in Freetown — the capital city of Sierra Leone. The African Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association comprises of the 63 national and subnational legislatures — governed by a coordinating and executive committees made up of representatives from across the region.
There is also a regional representatives committee which reports to the executive.
The CPA’s Mission is to promote and protect the interests and perspectives of Africa Regional Parliaments and countries, into the Commonwealth and beyond, and to promote gender equality, emancipation of women, and respect for human rights, freedoms, democracy and good governance.
Gotani Hara, who has been the Speaker since June 2019, took over from Justin B. Muturi, MP and Speaker of Kenya’s National Assembly.
She is an alumnus of Kamuzu Academy from where she went on to attain a Bachelor of Arts in political science at Chancellor College where she started her political career when ran the affairs of the University of Malawi’s wing of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
From 1998 to 2000, she completed professional postgraduate training in International Development and Project Planning and Management in Brighton, UK where she also worked as programme officer for the UK’s Department of International Development — the first Malawian to be recruited to that level in which she was responsible for the sustainable livelihood projects for both Malawi and Mozambique.
She was then elected as MP for a Mzimba North East in 2009 representing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) through which she was appointed Deputy Minister of Transport & Public Infrastructure; Deputy Minister for Gender and the Minister for Health in Joyce Banda administration.
She has represented Malawi’s Head of State at a number of international events, and was the chairperson of Malawi’s delegation to the Climate Change Summit in Brazil. She has also been a Board member of Northern Region Water Board.
After the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika in 2012, she publicly declared that it unconstitutional for members in the ruling politburo to take over the presidency.
She took a break from politics from 2014 to 2019, where she was re-elected on MCP ticket and went on to be elected Speaker with 97 votes to 93 over former deputy speaker, Esther Mcheka Chilenje.

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