By Emma Zawanda
Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara has hailed the Children’s Parliament as a platform for children to have a say in the country’s development.
Hara made the remarks on Tuesday in Lilongwe when she presided over the opening of the third session of the Dowa Children’s Parliament which will conduct business for three days at the Parliament Building.
Hara said, "the meeting of the Children’s Parliament has come at a very challenging time when the country’s children are facing numerous obstacles including sexual violence."
She said the platform affords the children space to provide ideas that would help solve problems affecting young people.
The speaker stressed that "gone are the days when children relied on adults to decide their future."
Interim Programs Manager for Plan International Malawi Blantyre Region Thoko Rusenja said the Children’s Parliament gives children power to set long term goals that have a positive impact on their life.
Meanwhile the Children’s Parliament elected Legislator for Dowa South East Baraka Daniel as Speaker.
However, some Members of Parliament had reservations on the Speaker’s appointment with some arguing some representatives had failed to travel to Lilongwe.
Rising on a point of order, Dowa East Member of Parliament Kilines Wilet said eleven Members of Parliament from Dzaleka constituency where not in the chamber on Monday when the voting took place.
"Daniel was once Deputy Speaker and there was need to have new faces in leadership" protested Wilet.
However after some discussion, Wilet accepted the appointment of Baraka Daniel as Speaker.
in other positions, Dzaleka North representative Divine Mugisha was elected First Deputy Speaker of Dowa Children’s Parliament and Dowa Central Legislator Blessings Michael as the Second Deputy Speaker.
The Children’s Parliament also chose Member of Parliament for Dzaleka East Wayne Dumbo as leader of the house and Clara Kachikhoswe was elected the Leader of Opposition.
Speaking with Timveni, First Deputy speaker of Dowa children’s Parliament Divine Mugisha, aged 17, said her appointment is an opportunity for her to uplift the welfare of children at Dzaleka refugee camp whom she said are facing a lot of challenges including child marriages.
The third session of the Children’s Parliament has been organized by Plan International Malawi, World Vision Malawi and When the Saints among other stakeholders.