In a dramatic twist of events, United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi has questioned whether the party’s parliamentarian for Balaka Central Lucius Banda has not contravened Section 65 of the Constitution by remaining on the opposition benches.
Banda wrote Speaker of Parliament asking him to allow him to remain on the opposition benches while the rest of his fellow UDF members of Parliament (MPs) followed their leader to government benches.
Debate continues on whether the 11 UDF legislators who are now part of the government side of the House should face the wrath of Section 65 for apparently crossing the floor.
In an interview with The Daily Times Tuesday after meeting officials from the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) in Lilongwe on issues surrounding UDF’s move, Muluzi said his conscience is clear on Section 65 following the Speaker’s ruling on the matter.
Muluzi, however, admitted that he is not completely sure about Lucius’ position in the circumstances, saying it is important to wait for legal opinions on the matter.
“The MPs did not write the Speaker to be allocated seats on the government side; rather it was the party that asked the Speaker to have the MPs moved. The Attorney General already assured the Speaker that the members have not crossed the floor.
“It’s different with Honourable Lucius Banda, who individually wrote the Speaker and disassociated himself from the party. So, who has crossed the floor here, because UDF is now seated on the other side?” queried Muluzi.
Commenting on the meeting with Pac, Muluzi said he wanted to seek clarification from the influential quasi-religious organisation on Lucius’ position.
Pac chairperson Felix Chingota said this issue is beyond them because it needs legal interpretation.
He said they will present it to the Speaker to seek clarification on who has crossed the floor between Lucius and the rest of the party members.
“We, however, still stand by our principles and the commitments that parties made before the 2014 elections. We are committed to seeing Section 65 being implemented and the law being respected,” he said.
Constitutional lawyer Edge Kanyongolo also recently backed the UDF, saying they have not crossed the floor.
Banda refused to move to government benches and remains on the opposition side, a move which has been hailed by most people as mature
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