Official results of Malawian elections: Richard Msowoya elected speaker of Malawi National Assembly
By Deogracias Benjamin Kalima, Blantyre
Richard Msowoya of the opposition Malawi Congress Party has been elected Speaker of Malawi National Assembly following a vote on Monday. Msowoya emerged victorious in the opposition dominated house after amassing 101 votes against his competitor Lazaro Kasaila of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who received 89 votes. In his acceptance speech, Msowoya pledged to spearhead the respect of the country’s constitution. Msowoya said: “I would like to thank you honorable members especially the majority that voted for me. Under my leadership, I will ensure that the Malawi Constitution is respected. I humbly accept the responsibility”.
Msowoya became the fifth Speaker of National Assembly since Malawi adopted multiparty democracy in 1993 and he succeeds Henry Chimunthu Banda who has since retired from active politics. His election to the national assembly’s top post comes as a consolation to him as well as his party having narrowly lost the all powerful state presidency to Peter Mutharika of the DPP. Malawi constitution puts the three arms of government namely the Executive, National Assembly and Judiciary at par but in practice, it is the Executive (Presidency) which tends to have more powers than the other two arms.
Esther Mcheka-Chilenje, an independent lawmaker was elected First Deputy Speaker. This is the second time Mcheka-Chilenje has been elected deputy speaker. She previously served in the same position between 2004-2009. The Second Deputy Speaker post has gone to Clement Chiwaya of UDF. Following the May 20 tripartite elections, no single party won a majority of seats in the 193 seat National Assembly. DPP scooped 50 seats which was reduced to 49 after Mutharika was sworn as president and by law the seat fell vacant pending by-election. Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has 48 seats while the Peoples Party of former president Joyce Banda won 26 seats. The United Democratic Front (UDF) which formed the first multiparty government in 1994, won 14 seats. One seat went to AFORD and CCP respectively. 52 seats went to independents, most of them likely to join the political parties with the ruling DPP being the likely beneficiary.
Among the newly elected lawmakers are two Malawians of European and Middle East origin. They are Jacquiline Jacoba Kouwenhoven of Rumphi West constituency who is of Dutch origin and Israeli David Yokav Bisnowaty who represents Lilongwe City Centre constituency. They follow in the footsteps of Jan Jaap Sonke who became the first Malawian of European descent to have made it to Malawi National Assembly in the post multiparty democracy era in 1999.