Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara on Friday confirmed that Mulanje Central legislator Kondwani Nankhumwa is Leader of Opposition after being elected by former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators in compliance with the Standing Orders, the laws governing the august House.
The Speaker said this in communication to the House before adjourning for weekend recess.
She said the election was conducted following direction by First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Madalitso Kazombo on Wednesday that DPP should conduct an election and submit the name of the elected LoP.
Kazombo’s decision followed communication from DPP leader Peter Mutharika that Kasaila should replace Nankhumwa as LoP. However, rising on a point of order immediately after the announcement, Mulanje West member of Parliament (MP) Yusuf Nthenda said as a legislator of the party’s he did not participate in the process of choosing the LoP.
In her communication, the Speaker said Parliamentary Standing Order 35 (1) provides that the LoP “shall be elected by the party not in government having the greatest numerical strength in Parliament at any point in time and officially announced as such by the Speaker”.
Nankhumwa was elected with 38 votes against four for Nsanje Central legislator Francis Kasaila, the preferred choice of DPP leader and the country’s immediate past president Peter Mutharika and one vote for Bright Msaka.
Said Gotani Hara: “I am satisfied with evidence submitted by the secretary general of DPP that the party has fulfilled the requirement in electing leader of opposition.
“I am pleased to officially announce that Kondwani Nankhumwa is the leader of oppositions.”
In terms of removal, Standing Order 36 says the LoP may be removed by the opposition side in Parliament “through a caucus of all members of the opposition side”
Gotani-Hara also cited a court authority in 2009, in which Justice of Appeal Rezine Mzikamanda, then a judge of the High Court, restored John Tembo as the LoP after Dowa legislator Abel Kayembe had claimed to have been endorsed by Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
This occurred in the administration of DPP under former president Bingu wa Mutharika (deceased).
Meanwhile, DPP chief whip and MP for Nkhatabay Central Vuwa Kaunda was Friday morning kicked out of the Parliament chamber using standing order 105 for disregarding Speaker’s ruling.
Vuwa was reacting to sentiments by Lilongwe city Centre MP Alfred Jiya who observed that a number of opposition MPs boycotted Parliament on Friday.
The DPP chief whip disregarded Speaker’s ruling that he should furnish her office with an explanation and kept on attacking government benches hence the marching orders.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :