By Brendan Umoren
Malawi’s Members of Parliament have elected fellow legislator, Catherine Gotani Hara, as speaker of Parliament, making her the country’s first female speaker for the August House.
Hara, who belongs to the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), won the seat in a tightly contested electoral process, beating former deputy speaker of the house, Esther Mcheka Chilenje, who belongs to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The election on Wednesday took place at the New Parliament Building in the capital, Lilongwe, and Hara amassed 97 of the legitimate votes against Mcheka Chilenje’s 93.
Earlier before casting the votes, both government and opposition sides of the legislative house agreed on having a woman as the speaker.
Hara took oath of office and she immediately assumed her role as speaker, and presided over the election of First and Second Deputy Speakers.
The newly elected speaker boasts of legislative experience having served as member of Parliament from 2009 to 2014.
She also served in the government as Minster of Health, Minister of Environment, Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, and Deputy Minister of Transport and Public Works.