Members of the parliamentary alliance between Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) have moved closer to the front benches of the government side, signalling a much closer relationship between the two parties.
The development comes at a time when DPP is courting People’s Party (PP) for a similar alliance which could see its numbers swell in a bid to counter the opposition on crucial matters in the House.
This was observed when Mangochi South member of Parliament (MP), who is also UDF chief whip, Lillian Patel, rose to contribute to the report of the Legal Affairs Committee on the Political Parties Bill yesterday.
For the past four meetings of the 46th session of Parliament, UDF MPs have been seated on seats 98 to 112, which are on the far end of the first row of the government side of the chamber.
Patel and the deputy chief whip and Mangochi Central East MP Ernest Yahaya have been elevated from seats 102 and 103 to 19 and 20 respectively, just behind the ministers row.
Other members such as Mangochi East MP Abubakar Mbaya, Aufi Mpaweni of Balaka Central East, Idi Kalosi of Mangochi North East and Rashid Pemba of Mangochi Masongola have moved to seats 30 to 33, previously occupied by some DPP MPs, from seats 104 to 107.
According to the seating plan at the back of the Order Paper, some five more UDF MPs have been allocated seats right behind their counterparts, displacing some DPP MPs.
Others are on seats 64 to 66 in particular Mangochi South West MP Justin Majawa and Mangochi Lutende MP Francis Billiat, who were elected as independents before their affiliation to UDF.n