UDF MPs risk Section 65 axe


United Democratic Front (UDF) Members of Parliament are in fresh fears of losing their seats after People’s Party (PP) legislator for Mzimba West, Harry Mkandawire petitioned Speaker Richard Msowoya to declare their seats vacant.

The petition, which follows another by activist Billy Mayaya, was made in March this year.

“All UDF members of Parliament, who have since their election in 2014 moved from the opposition side of the Chamber to the Government side namely Hon. Lilian Patel, Ernest Yahaya,..considered to have crossed the floor in line with Section 65 of the Constitution. Your petitioner respectfully requests Your Honourable Office to immediately declare their respective constituencies vacant,” reads Mkandawire’s petition, dated March 10, 2016.


It targets 11 UDF MPs. Apart from Patel and Yahaya, others are Aufi Mpaweni, David Lali, Abubaker M’baya, Shaibu Kaliati, Rashid Pemba, Aisha Adams, Rodrick Khumbanyiwa, Misolo Kapichira and Grant Ndecha.

The Daily Times, has seen a letter from Msowoya, dated March 11 2016, to one of the affected MPs, asking for his response on the matter.

“I’m in receipt of the attached petition from Hon. Harry Mkandawire to my office to take action against you under Section 65 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi. I will appreciate to receive the written comments from


you on the allegations contained in the petition within seven days from the date of this letter before I make my determination,” reads the letter.

Meanwhile, the UDF MPs are currently challenging the petition in court.

“I have been instructed to commence court proceedings challenging the petition of Harry Mkandawire. Judge Esmie Chombo however said this matter should be consolidated with the challenge we filed against Billy Mayaya’s petition,” lawyer Grabriel Chembezi said yesterday.

The order Chembezi is talking about was made on May 18, 2016.

“Upon hearing counsel of the plaintiffs, and upon reading the affidavit in support of the application for an order of interlocutory injunction and upon looking at the issues being raised in the originating summons herein, it is herein it is hereby ordered that this matter be and is hereby consolidated with Miscellaneous Civil Cause Number 73 of 2015, which is already before Hon Justice Mkandawire so that the issues being raised in this matter be dealt with together with those raised in Miscellaneous Civil Cause Number 73 of 2015 owing to its similarity,” it reads.

Last year, Mayaya petitioned the Speaker to declare seats of the UDF MPs vacant. However, the MPs obtained a stay order on the matter.

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