Malawi: So Help Me Allah! Abida Mia Sworn in As MPs On the Quran

Firebrand politician Abida Mia, wife to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Vice president Sidik Mia, was on Tuesday among newly elected Members of Parliament sworn-in to mark the beginning of the 2019 to 2024 new Parliament business ahead of the official opening of the House session on Friday.

Abida who won as legislator for Chikwawa-Nkombezi Constituency which was previously under Lloyd Malora of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was sworn in with her left hand on the Quran - the holy book for Moslems.

She was amongst some few Muslim legislators who used the Holy Quran as Christian MPs were sworn with the Holy Bible.

Another MP sworn using Holy Quran included Blantyre-based transporter Sameer Suleman who won the Blantyre City South East as DPP MP.

Abida had donned the hijab, or Islamic head covering worn by women. That makes her another hijab-wearing member of the House, as Aisha Mambo a legislator of UDF is another Muslim woman wearing the hijab, swearing in on the Quran.

The parliamentarians took oath of allegiance and oath of office at New Parliament Building in the capital, Lilongwe, and the ceremony was presided over by the country's Chief Justice, Andrew Nyirenda, who also swore in President Peter Mutharika after being declared winner in the controversial presidential polls.

Section 52 of the Republic of Malawi Constitution reads: "Every member before taking seat and office shall take and subscribe in the National Assembly oath of allegiance... "

Other notable legislators who took the two oaths on their comeback to the House include Lilongwe City West MP Nancy Tembo, Mzimba North East MP Catherine Gotani Hara and Chitipa North MP Nick Masebo.

The swearing-in ceremony signifies the first serious business of the new 48th Session of Parliament.

Meanwhile, the sworn-in legislators are expected to elect Speaker of Parliament on Wednesday.

Mutharika is scheduled to officially open parliament session on Friday where he is also expected to give a State of The Nation Address.

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