Zambia’s parliament has elected its first female speaker, more than a week after longtime opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema was sworn in as the country’s new president.
Nelly Mutti, a lawyer based in the capital, Lusaka, was elected unopposed on Friday to replace Patrick Matibini, a retired high court judge who served as speaker for 10 years.
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Matibini’s tenure ended after the 12 August election that saw Hichilema defeat incumbent President Edgar Lungu.
In a post on microblogging site, Twitter, Hichilema confirmed Mutti’s election, as well as her two deputies, Attractor Chisangano and Moses Moyo. He wrote:
We just concluded the Approbation of our Country’s First Female Speaker, Nelly Mutti and two Deputy Speakers. The First Deputy Speaker is Attractor Chisangano and Mr Moses Moyo is the Second Deputy Speaker. We wish them well as they perform their duties in Parliament.
Chisangano is a member of Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND), while Moses Moyo was elected to parliament as an independent candidate.
In his address at the ceremony, Hichilema said Mutti’s election championed the cause of women in leadership roles in Zambia.
Mutti is a human rights lawyer and a former chairwoman of the country’s anti-corruption commission.
Her job will be to preside over a parliament where the ruling party still needs the cooperation of opposition members of parliament to make constitutional changes.