President Peter Mutharika has confirmed Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa as the new Leader of the House.
The President has also appointed Blantyre North East member of Parliament (MP) Cecilia Chazama as Deputy Leader of the House. Chazama was recently appointed Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development.
Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya, who is scheduled to make an official announcement in Parliament today, confirmed the appointments in a brief interview on Sunday.
Nankhumwa, who is Mulanje Central MP, was initially appointed interim Leader of the House in February this year, replacing fired minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda.
On Sunday, Nankhumwa said he was yet to be officially communicated to by either the President or the Office of the Speaker of Parliament.
He said: “But if it has pleased the President to appoint me as Leader of the House, I am humbled. I am ready to take up the challenge and continue serving the President, government and people of Malawi with unwavering loyalty and dedication, the same manner I have been doing as an interim Leader.”
On her part, Chazama said she could not ably comment on the matter because she was out of the country.
Chazama, who is deputy secretary general of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was appointed to her ministerial portfolio exactly a month ago, replacing the outspoken Mulanje West legislator Patricia Kaliati.
Gender activist Emma Kaliya applauded Mutharika for giving the position of deputy Leader of the House to a woman.
Another female MP, Grace Chiumia, who is also Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, is government deputy chief whip to Henry Mussa, the Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development and legislator for Chiradzulu East.
In February this year, there was uproar in the House when opposition
MPs came up with a series of points of order after the DPP politburo decided to reinstate Chaponda barely days after Nankhumwa’s appointment as interim leader.
Chaponda was appointed Leader of the House on May 19 2016, taking over from Francis Kasaila who is DPP spokesperson and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.