Written by YAMIKANI SIMUTOWE
BLANTYRE—Opposition legislators have outnumbered Malawi’s ruling People’s Party(PP) in parliament following the relocation of former ruling United Democratic Front’s (UDF) law makers to the opposition benches.
Likewise, some MPs who ditched opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for PP have gone back to their party. The lawmakers are former tourism minister Daniel Liwimbi, Wilfred Nawena, Albert Thindwa, Wells Gama and Grain Malunga. They officially wrote the Office of the Speaker on their decision to return to DPP.
When Pres Joyce Banda opened the 44th parliament meeting on Friday, the opposition had 110 MPs while the government side had 83.
Leader of DPP in the House George Chaponda was upbeat saying more MPs will rejoin the party which will strengthen the opposition. DPP publicity secretary Nicolas Dausi says the returning of the lawmakers to the party meant nothing substantive happened while they were in PP.
After the sudden death of Pres Bingu wa Mutharika in April last year, many MPs joined the party of Mutharika’s successor, Joyce Banda, who was sworn in to finish the remainder of his term.
Banda, who was Mutharika’s deputy, had remained in the position after she was expelled from DPP over a succession dispute as Mutharika had wanted his brother to succeed him in 2014.
The party had also wanted Banda removed as vice president but according to the country’s constitution, only parliament has the power to impeach both the president and the deputy from office.
After her dismissal from DPP, Banda formed PP. But when she assumed power, PP didn’t have its own elected MPs. Banda’s cabinet drew from parties represented in parliament.
Does the boost in opposition numbers mean trouble for PP in terms of passage of bills in parliament?
(c) The Maravi Post 2013