Public Affairs Committee adamant on Section 65
Public Affairs Committee (Pac) has said it is currently ‘consulting’ before petitioning Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya to implement Section 65 on United Democratic Front (UDF) legislators deemed to have crossed the floor.
Msowoya is on record to have said that his office can only act on the 11 MPs after being moved.
Last week, UDF president Atupele Muluzi and other party officials, including Secretary General Kandi Padambo, spokesperson Ken Ndanga and Chief Whip in Parliament Lillian Patel, called the quasi-religious organisation to a meeting in Lilongwe to seek clarification on issues surrounding the matter.
In an interview yesterday, Pac Executive Director Robert Phiri said the organisation wants to first appreciate whether an organisation like Pac can move the Speaker to invoke the wrath of the constitutional provision.
“It’s not about UDF MPs. Following a meeting with UDF on Section 65 , the chairperson instructed the secretariat to explore ways of how Pac could engage the next gear on the implementation of Section 65, especially that the Speaker indicated that he had not been moved yet,
“ We are aware that there are different views on the matter but Pac has been working on how best the section should be implemented since 2012 we learnt that hands of the Speakers were tied. We are yet to see whether the hands will continue to be tied,” said Phiri.
According to Phiri, the democracy watchdog has over the years held interface meetings with among others former Speaker of National Assembly Chimunthu Banda, current Speaker Msowoya, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and the Judiciary.
Interestingly, Muluzi has introduced a new theory by querying the status of Balaka Central parliamentarian Lucius Banda who refused to move to government benches like the other 11 UDF MPs.
The UDF president in an interview with The Daily Times last week questioned whether Banda has not contravened Section 65 by writing the Speaker to remain on opposition benches while the rest of party MPs have reallocated to the other side.
Meanwhile, University of Malawi constitutional law expert Edge Kanyongolo told the media recently that the 11 UDF MPs, who have moved to the government benches, have not crossed the floor.
However, another lawyer, Justin Dzonzi of Justice Links is of the view that the current situation calls for the Speaker to invoke the section considering that the party is divided in the House.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues