President Peter Mutharika has appointed vice president of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda as Leader of House replacing Foreign Affairs Minister Francis Kasaila.
According presidential spokesman Mgeme Kalilani, the appointment is effective 19th May 2016.
“The appointment has been necessitated by the recent appointment of Hon. Kasaila, as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation. It is necessary to allow him to effectively attend to Malawi’s international affairs which often demand a lot of travelling out of the country,” Kalilani said in a statement seen by Nyasa Times.
Kalilani said with Kasaila’s new ministerial portfolio where he replaced Chaponda, “ it became necessary to allow someone to take over the position of Leader of the House so that both positions are given the due attention they deserve.”
He said the Head of State “sincerely” thanked Kasaila for “performing exceptionally well” as Leader of the House during his term and further wishes Chaponda well in his new role in Parliament.
Chaponda once held the post in the previous DPP regime when it became increasingly intorelant.
However, some Malawians have taken up on social media to express their concern that Mutharika is piling more responsibilities to the ageing Chaponda, fuelling further speculation that the head of state is grooming the Mulanje lawmaker for the presidency in 2019.
Chaponda’s deputy in parliament is Mulanje central MP and Minister of Local Government Kondwani Nankhumwa.
Minister of Labour Henry Mussa is the chief whip and his deputy is Minister of Sports Grace Chiumia.