Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara has said her office recognizes the shadow Cabinet that Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa appointed last week.
She said this yesterday in Parliament when Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda asked if it was proper to recognize a Cabinet that the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has dismissed.
DPP administrative secretary Francis Mphepo issued a statement dismissing the shadow Cabinet, saying it did not have the blessing of the party.
However, the Speaker said her office has not received any communication from the DPP on the shadow Cabinet; hence, her office recognizes the Cabinet that Nankhumwa appointed.
Said Hara: “Our office recognizes it that is why this office did announce it.”
Shadow minister of Natural Resources Werani Chilenga said it is high time people started respecting the Leader of Opposition.
He said it is surprising that some people are busy fighting the shadow Cabinet when that is normal in other countries.
“What is wrong with us Malawians? Maybe we need to school these people so that they understand their role and how Parliament operates,” said Chilenga.
He added that MCP operated with a shadow Cabinet but people who do not understand how things work are trying to bring confusion.
On his part, government Chief Whip Jacob Hara said Malawians have never had problems with such a shadow Cabinet but it is the DPP that is against it.
He said: “We have always had these positions. Malawians have never had problems with this and it has been accepted.
“MCP has worked with shadow Cabinet in advising. It has worked very well. It is not Malawians, it is DPP.”
When asked for comment, Nankhumwa referred the matter to shadow minister of Information Mark Botomani.
In a separate interview, Botomani said DPP MPs do not recognize the communication from Mphepo and that if there were to be any communication it would have to come from the secretary-general of the party.
He said: “There is nothing irregular that the Leader of Opposition did. He did everything within his mandate to appoint a Shadow Cabinet. This is not the first shadow Cabinet that the Leader of Opposition has appointed.
“ There was one that he appointed last year and the Speaker of the National Assembly announced the dissolution of that Cabinet on Monday last week. We didn’t hear anything from Honourable Mphepo on that particular shadow Cabinet. We are only hearing from him now that this shadow Cabinet has been announced.
“We are actually surprised. But I might emphasize that there is nothing irregular, nothing unprocedural in appointing a shadow Cabinet.”
Botoman added that Nankhumwa is the legitimate Leader of Opposition and was voted by a majority of DPP MPs.
He said some people have been trying to fight him but the MPs recognize him as such, adding MPs are happy with how he is carrying out his duties.
Parliament operates with a shadow Cabinet from the opposition that reflects on works of the actual Cabinet appointed by the President.
Nankhumwa appointed a 33-member shadow Cabinet, including shadow deputy ministers.