Divisions in People’s Party (PP) continue to widen as the party has resolved to have some of its Members of Parliament’s (MPs) seats declared vacant for “crossing the floor”.
The party wants to write Speaker of Parliament to invoke Section 65 of the Constitution on the MPs.
The party has accused of indiscipline the MPs who were voted to the august House on PP ticket but have, of late, been gracing other political parties’ functions.
The MPs include Malani Mtonga and Welani Chilenga of Karonga and Chitipa South constituencies, respectively.
Mtonga was on Sunday spotted at a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rally at Lunzu in Blantyre while Chilenga was seen at a similar event in Chitipa three months ago.
PP’s deputy spokesperson Ackson Kalaile Banda said yesterday that the party has exercised enough patience with the MPs and that it is left with no option but to have their seats in Parliament declared vacant.
“Basically, these people have crossed the floor and they continue to fool their constituents that they belong to PP. So, by declaring their seats vacant, we are actually doing them a favour to go back and relaunch their political careers with the parties of their choice,” Banda said.
Section 65 mandates the Speaker of Parliament to declare vacant the seat of any member of the National Assembly who was, at the time of his or her election, a member of one political party represented in the National Assembly, but voluntarily ceases to be a member of that party or has joined another political party represented in the National Assembly or an association or organisation whose objectives or activities are political in nature.
Banda said the PP executive also intends to summon Ralph Jooma of Mangochi Monkey Bay Constituency, who recently resigned as the party’s Chief Whip in Parliament, for a disciplinary hearing where he will know his fate.
Jooma was among senior members of the party who, few months ago, led a team of other PP law-makers to Kamuzu Palace, where they had an audience with President Peter Mutharika.
“You will notice that these are the same people that went to State House for discussions with Mutharika for a possible working relationship with the ruling DPP; later, they were in Parliament helping the government defeat the Electoral Reforms [Amendment] Bills, against the stance of the party. So, we better let them free,” Banda said.
When called for comment, Mtonga and Chilenga did not pick our calls but Mtonga told our sister paper Malawi News few weeks ago that he is only exercising his democratic right of association.
Chilenga said separately that there is a lot of chaos in PP and that it lacks a sense of direction.
This comes at a time the party just expelled parliamentarian for Salima Central Constituency Uladi Mussa, who was also its care-taker leader, after taking to the public that he would challenge party president Joyce Banda at the convention.
Meanwhile, some opposition MPs, including those of PP, continue to receive pressure from their constituents who are demanding explanations as to why they blocked the proposed electoral reforms bills during the last meeting of Parliament.
Mtonga, for instance, was recently blocked from holding a meeting in his area after he failed to appear before a special task force in his constituency, where he was summoned to respond to some of the queries.
Last week, political analyst Mustapha Hussein of Chancellor College warned that the prolonged absence of party president Banda would continue to act as a pulldown factor for the party.
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