Catherine Gotani Hara
Gotani Hara in 2019
Speaker of the National Assembly
Assumed office
19 June 2019
Preceded byRichard Msowoya
ConstituencyMzimba North East
Personal details
Political partyMCP

Catherine Gotani Hara is a Malawian politician who has been the Speaker of the National Assembly since June 2019, the first woman to hold the position.

Early life and education

Gotani Hara attended Kamuzu Academy,[1] and has a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Chancellor College at the University of Malawi.[2][3] While studying, she ran the university's wing of the Malawi Congress Party.[1] From 1998 to 2000, she completed professional postgraduate training in International Development and Project Planning and Management Brighton.[1][4][2][3][5]


Gotani Hara was a Programme Officer for the UK's Department of International Development,[4] the first Malawian to be recruited to that level.[3] She was responsible for the sustainable livelihood projects for both Mozambique and Malawi.[3]

Gotani Hara was elected as the Member of Parliament for Mzimba North East[6] in 2009, representing the Democratic Progressive Party.[4]

Gotani Hara was the Deputy Minister of Transport and Public Infrastructure,[7] Deputy Minister for Gender,[5] and the Minister for Health in the Joyce Banda government.[2][8] She represented the Malawi Head of State at a number of international events, and was the Chair of the Malawi delegation to the Climate Change Summit in Brazil.[1] She is a board member of the Northern Region Water Board.[1] After the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika in 2012, she publicly declared that it unconstitutional for members in the ruling DPP politburo to take over the presidency.[9] She took a break from politics from 2014 to 2019.[9]

Gotani Hara was re-elected in May 2019 representing Malawi Congress Party and on 19 June 2019, she was elected the first female Speaker of the National Assembly,[3] with 97 votes to 93 over former deputy speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje.[4][10]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Know your possible well-composed Malawi's female Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara". The Maravi Post. 18 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Malawi parliament elects opposition MP as first female speaker: Catherine Gotani Hara". Povo News. 20 June 2019. Archived from the original on 29 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e "No Madando, No Tippex:Malawi legislators elect MCP's Gotani Hara first woman speaker of parliament". Nyasa Times. 2019-06-19. Retrieved 2019-06-19.
  4. ^ a b c d Alfa Shaban, Abdur Rahman (19 June 2019). "Malawi parliament picks first woman speaker: Catherine Gotani Hara". Africa News. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b Chimjeka, Rebecca; Chauluka, Jameson (20 June 2019). "Catherine Gotani-Hara Elected Speaker". The Times. Archived from the original on 17 November 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Gwengwe Says Zero Deficit Budget Obvious: Some Of Us Saw This Coming". Malawi Voice. 2011-05-31. Archived from the original on 2011-08-05. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  7. ^ aulipa says (2011-09-07). "President Bingu Wa Mutharika names his new cabinet and appoints his wife as Minister in Malawi – Newstime Africa". Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  8. ^ "Gotani says negligence led to bodies rot at KCH mortuary". Nyasa Times. 4 March 2014. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Malawi breaks record of having Female Speaker, Catherine Gotani Hara". The Maravi Post. 19 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Malawi parliament elects first ever female speaker". The New Times. 21 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.