For the past four meetings of the 46th session of Parliament, UDF MPs have been seated on seats 98 to 112, which are on the far end of the first row of the government side of the chamber.
But as of Monday this week, Mangochi South Parliamentarian, who is also UDF chief whip, Lilian Patel and her deputy, Ernest Yahaya- Mangochi Central East MP- have been elevated from seats 102 and 103 to 19 and 20, respectively, just behind the ministers’ row.
Other members such as Mangochi East MP Abubakar Mbaya, Aufi Mpaweni of Balaka Central East, Idi Kalosi of Mangochi North East and Rashid Pemba of Mangochi Masongola have moved to seats 30 to 33, previously occupied by DPP MPs, from seats 104 to 107.
According to the seating plan at the back of the Order Paper, some five more UDF MPs have been allocated seats right behind their counterparts, again displacing some DPP MPs.
Others are on seats 64 to 66 in particular Mangochi South West’s Justin Majawa and Mangochi Lutende’s Francis Billiat, who were elected as independents before joining UDF.
UDF leader Atupele Muluzi was hired into President Peter Mutharika’s cabinet soon after the May 2014 elections, a move that marked the beginning of a working relationship between the two parties.
Muluzi is currently the Minister of Health.
At the time the National Assembly was also receiving nominations for Speakers, Patricia Kaliati, DPP MP for Mulanje West, turned down her nomination as Second Deputy Speaker, replacing herself with Dr. Clement Chiwaya UDF MP for Mangochi Central.