Malawi’s parliament elects opposition MP as first-ever female speaker

Malawi's parliament elects opposition MP as first-ever female speaker

History has been made in Malawi as lawmakers on Wednesday elected a female member of parliament as speaker for the first time in the country’s history.

Catherine Gotani Hara from the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) gathered 97 votes against 93 of Esther Mcheka Chilenje of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The Malawian parliament which has 193 seats, was dissolved in March this year, ahead of the fresh elections held on 21st May.

After announcement of the voting results, Eisenhower Mkaka, MCP lawmaker and party spokesperson said; “the victory of Hara as first-ever female speaker of parliament is what every Malawian hoped for. Her election should encourage women that if you invest in girls, they can also become leaders.”  

Viwemi Chavula, who is the team leader of the 50-50 campaign, a consortium of civil rights group which campaigns for 50% representation of women in public offices, has described Hara’s election into office as a milestone for Malawi.

“It has been our aim to increase women’s representation in leadership and decision making positions. The election of the first female speaker of parliament is a huge achievement for Malawi,” Chavula said.

Hara has previously held several ministerial positions including that of health and gender under Joyce Banda, Malawi’s first women president.


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