DPP-UDF in ‘tribal pact’ argues Malawi law expert

United Democratic Front (UDF) members of Parliament (MPs) who have relocated to government benches have violated Section 65 of the constitution, a law that regulates movement of Members of Parliament once elected into the Legislature, Malawian law professor Danwood Chirwa has argued.

UDF president Atupele Muluzi (L) with President Peter Mutharika's special aide Ben Phiri: Governing pact has been labelled 'tribal' bu Professor Danwood Chirwa

UDF president Atupele Muluzi (L) with President Peter Mutharika’s special aide Ben Phiri: Governing pact has been labelled ‘tribal’ bu Professor Danwood Chirwa

Chirwa, a professor of law at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, says Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya can declare vacant seats of the UDF MPs who have relocated to government benches.

Section 65 has remained a destabilising factor in the operations of parliament and the safeguarding of the country’s democracy.

Chirwa has been quoted in The Nation saying Section 65 speaks both to the minimum standards as well as aspirational standards as espoused by the Constitution.

“At the very minimum, it [the section] prevents MPs elected on party tickets from switching their allegiance once elected by way either of resigning from that political party or joining another political party.<

“Thus far, we know that UDF MPs have moved from opposition benches to government benches. That conduct can be used to support the view that those MPs have crossed the floor within the meaning of Section 65,” he is quoted saying.

UDF and DPP claim to be in a parliamentary coalition but Chirwa said there is lack of clear issue-based discussion between the two parties and a document that sets out their shared goals.

“What is being sold as a coalition is in actual fact a tribal pact between two tribal formations masquerading as political parties with a national agenda.

“Neither have we seen each party canvassing publicly and within their own parties and constituencies about the possibility and feasibility of the coalition.

“The absence of all these conditions renders the coalition nonexistence, but rather the absorption of one party by another, which has implications for Section 65,” the paper quoted the law scholar.

Public Affairs Committee (PAC), the country’s authoritative interfaith democracy watchdog and advocacy group, have asked the Speaker to crack the Section 65 whip on UDF MPs.

But Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale’s legal opinion –which the Speaker relies on – says UDF move is legal.

Constitutional law expert Edge Kanyongo, who is an associate professor of law at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, also backed the UDF MPs, arguing Section 65 cannot whip them as they have not crossed the floor.

UDF MPs not affected by the move are Balaka North MP and hitherto leader of UDF in Parliament Lucius Banda, party president and Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Atupele Muluzi and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament Clement Chiwaya.

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62 thoughts on “DPP-UDF in ‘tribal pact’ argues Malawi law expert”



  2. Stupid Professor

  3. Malawi wa Lero says:

    The father originated it and the son thinks it is not worth having it. All because of greed. Recipe for a fight in the near future i.e. When the majority blind supporters will discover that they have not benefited anything from their sweat.

  4. Misi anguisher says:

    “Blood is thicker than water: there is something hiden in this issue if the laws are not applied urgently later will see that their goals of not respecting the constitution has achieved section 64 and 65 has to work there Mr speaker please use section 64

  5. Nyakawoko says:

    Now I believe that a lot of our southern friends are daft. Prof. Chirwa is even modest in saying that this is a tribal pact. Actually it is a family pact with cheerleaders (tribesmen largely) which Lucius did not want to be part of. This family pact is masquerading as selfless leaders while they are busy enriching themselves moving from 150m to 62 billion in under 10 years. Declaring 3 billion assets ( After Tenthani questioned – MHSRIEP) hastily revising it to under 1 billion. What was the motive? Muluzi being given TV license, Son getting ministerial posts in all governments, father 1.7 billion case dropped. The paupers road in Zomba Phalombe and Mulanje not finished money used for campaign. Mulli MSB 4.9 billion loan and friends loans ( supporters of DPP) forgiven by tribesmen ( now we are told of toxic assets ) while owners are still running businesses in Malawi. A family pact taking advantage of illiterate tribesmen. A case of one eyed man is THE king among the blind.

    Prof Chirwa is saying what did we want to achieve with section 65. The phrases ” minimum standards and aspirational standards” have been used. UDF is essentially serving the interest of DPP. They have just lost their voice. They cannot comment on the budget. They have crossed the floor.

    Do not be daft guys – chefourpence and friends. Do not criticize the issues through our tribal inclinations. Just because a tumbuka has said it is a tribal pact then he is a tribalist

    Finally, It is important to hold our leaders accountable to provide the services we need. How do we explain that Mulanje Phalombe Zomba road is not done in ten years in which our leader amassed 62 billion. It means we have resources in Malawi.

  6. Kenkkk says:

    Criticize the prof on what he says but not his tribe, ndiye kutiputa enafe.

    Physical floor crossing by udf, yes and legal s65 floor crossing by udf, no but the effects of both are the same as if s65 has been breached. It is the effects that is the most important. Is democracy being served here when the smaller coalition partner is being swallowed, muted and forced to obey everything that the bigger partner is saying without any voice or opinion of its own? Is that not the same as one party?

    Only myopic people don’t see what the prof is saying!!

    After all the constitution was very poorly written and no wonder the person who contributed most is Peter. One dimensional as if a layman was writing it!!!

  7. Biyisikolo says:

    It is in our blood as Africans that tribalism and regionalism is our staple food. No wonder its only the few politicians that benefits from the state coffers while the rest of us are languishing in stinking povery and happily supporting these fools foolishly. When one tries to enlighten the imbeciles gets unsavoury comments. The Prof. is just saying the obvious.

  8. Chipapwiche says:

    Is Danwood really a law expert? Surprising. What does section 65 states? Come on,Danwood! Don’t demonstrate your hatred for these two parties here. If at all its an analysis from slaw expert,where is the issue of tribes coming from? Bad for you. UDF hasn’t joined DPP,but has moved to the government side where there is DPP. Section 65 looks at crossing the floor where one joins another political party represented in parliament other than the one whose ticket one was voted for. Danwood,please!!!

  9. Jose' says:

    Kodi mwati danwood Chirwa ndi Professor wa Law? I doubt if he can teach at a humble university like UNIMA. The guy is dull. He fails to articulate his legal opinion satisfactorily. Kaphale and kanyongolo, men who matter on legal opinions, said it convincingly and one Chirwa who cannot differentiate dumping a political party from a coalition thinks he can confuse Malawian masses? Ndadandaula kutaya nthawi yanga kuwerenga trash imeneyi

  10. papa says:

    Why is it that our laws are difficult to interprete?

  11. Auphie says:

    Mbuli ya Professer umatani kuwonetsa u professer wakowo pamene amalawi anzako amaphedwa ngati ziweto ku RSA ko ukawelengoso malamulo adzikolathu palibe chomwe ukudziwa UDF 4lif

  12. Kanyama Chima says:

    Proffessor, what the constitution says is paramount not you r opinion. Do not confuse us please.

  13. KK says:

    Ma Prof a Chitumbuka o loweza.

  14. kamphulusa says:

    Well the move by UDF is self destruction as they have lost their voice in Parliament and it is now hard to criticize Government or the ruling DPP. UDF can not share any success of the DPP government as anything good will be attributed to Prof. and the DPP. Mark my word our UDF will not feature and slowly it will be forgotten as the members will move to DPP if it runs the affairs of the country well or move to opposition parties if the members are not impressed with the government of the DPP more so if the government does not institute proper investigation of the 92 billion Kwacha that was stolen between 2005 to 2012

  15. James Mwandira says:

    Angel of Doom@ 25.1 you are very pedestrial in thinking ndithu. Who said that when you are seating in opposition benches you can fail to vote for or against government that you have to physically move your position in the house. I thought opposition votes Yes on the so many bills introduced by ruling government. Do you have a shred of brain in your skull. Do you really follow Malawian politics?

  16. VIZAULI IVI says:

    Stupid kany o ngo lo, foolish attorney general empty brains!

  17. ZZ Junior says:

    Funny that the so called Law experts have suddenly become wise about all this. Where were these opinions when Bingu left UDF?

  18. Akatswiri says:

    Tiuzeni zoona, wheather the members of UDF has crossed the floor or not.the proff from south Africa chirwa is saying they have crossed the floor and Edge Kanyongolo is saying they have not nanga enanu mukuti chani popeza nanu munapita ku college ya Law?

  19. chefourpence says:

    I think this Chirwa Proffessor is stupid and a tribalist at heart. He should stop swinging his opinions to benefit the Northern Agenda. Ie the desire and plan to control all power in Malawi driven by the false belief that northerners are superior. He is afraid that the marriage between PP and MCP which is tribal, we all saw and heard that during the elections, will not succeed in its intentions of penetrating the south. This Chirwa opinion is designed to create two political blocks based on tribes. Watch fellas, you know how this tragically ends and it aint good! And guess who the victims would be? I thought so.

  20. lonjezo says:

    Bwana atupere chipani chakukanikani apa ndiye mwaonetsalathu kuti ndale si gawo lanu

  21. A Cuthbert says:

    This professor is very daft! Ceasing to be a member of a party requires a declaration of some sort not physically moving chairs! Please stay where you are you ingrate! You have nothing to offer Malawi! Thatvis why there is xenophobia- a daft prof from Malawi talikng the job from a competent South African.

  22. Nyatwa says:

    When ISIS (UDF) and BOKO HARAM (DPP) formed a coalition no body said a word. Now that the opposition is in alliance, ISIS (UDF) and BOKO HARAM (DPP) are crying foul!!! what is wrong with this picture

  23. Piper says:

    Malawian politics kunyasa kwake…and the people commenting are just as ignorant as the politicians !!

  24. mwiithotho says:

    Wa ku mpoto expert wa LAW ku SA? ? Mwina tinamize za xenophobia if indeed you know anything

  25. Lord Denning says:

    Whether or not they have crossed the floor, will be up to the determination of the Court. Mr. Speaker who was elected by the majority of MCP Mps has already been advised by the so called government lawyer Mr. Kaphale who was appointed by the DPP President. so please find something else to argue about you ignorant uninitiated common people.

  26. dalirani says:

    U all fools u busy talikng abt tribalism no wonder most malawians u r poor in in ur fucken heads,ur fucken leaders hv not offer anythng good fools

  27. Action speacks louder than words. The action taken by UDF members concludes it all that they have crossed the boundaries.

  28. Non sense says:

    People exposing their foolishness including this dude who masquerades as a law professor. Okay, MCP and PP are in infringement of Sec 65 coz their behaviour in parliament show they are in close association. A law prof che Deadwood Chirwa mukuti uli?

    1. Kenkkk says:

      Mcp and pp each speak their own minds and respond to govt blunders. Udf doesn’t and that is the difference. If udf have educated people, then they must explain the meaning of coalition. It doesn’t mean just because you are in coalition, then you can’t have your own views different from those of the other partner in coalition.

      If dpp today says they want to steal all govt money, then udf will be silent or say yes dpp we are together? That is exactly what udf are behaving. Look around the world and see how coalitions work, the partners express their differences openly but not this udf. Coalition, the malawi way, what a shame?

      We need to define properly in our constitution what a coalition govt means and the role of its partner political
      Parties play. At the moment udf looks very stupid and the only sane person is Lucious Banda, who seem to understand what role a coalition partner does and he is one of the least educated!!! You see how God works in mysterious ways! The educated ones are blind, blinded by greed and power hunger!!

      You can see how other people believe udf had crossed the floor and breached s65. Sometimes you have to think outside the box as some people say!!

  29. nyayo says:

    What ever one may imply about the Pact between DPP and UDF will not make me retract my view about critics that they fear that these two or any of the two will become more powerful. Spectators are speculating a lot yet those concerned are mute. I come from UDF stronghold and my homies are not aggrieved by this PACT. Do your tracts to weaken them but I doubt if you will win. These people are foresighted. They removed you from power in 1994 and their game plan is that you should not get back to the throne. As to my professor, I respect your status but believe you me you don’t know how politics works on the ground. This is not the first time your theories have not yielded anything in Malawi. Anyhow thanks for saying nothing pro.

  30. Camptain Romero says:

    Lawyer wa chitumbuka wafoira , sadziwa za malamulo a dziko lino, asiyire Mijiba Kaphale ndi Ajiba Kanyongolo (K,K) azikomenta.Osati mtumbuka Chirwa

  31. Chikopa says:

    Wabwelanso nkulu ameneyi anasowa pakatipa atapalanso, amanena mwina za malamulo aku RSA anyasa musamataye nthawi kumamfusa nkulu ameneyi nthawi zonse amangolakwisa palibe anamasulira cholondola nthawi zonse kupala kokhakokha

  32. ujeni says:

    Mf Foot iwe Doom, how can joining the ruling side not just by supporting but practically moving from the opposing benches across the floor to the ruling side be called Freedom of Association? Do you know what freedom of association mean? koma amangwetu. MP’s can chart with anyone thats freedom of association. Is a mere member of parliament sitting on speakers seat during debates freedom of association?

  33. ujeni says:

    Mr Angel of Doom you are just showing how dull you are. Crossing the floor does not mean going to a party headquarters and sign a membership form, unless you are dull you cannot think or see beyond your nose.

    By UDF members switching from being in opposition on opposition benches and joining the ruling side on government benches, they have PRATICALLY joined the the otherside. They can say theoretically they havent joined DPP but that is not what section 65 is about in parliament. Section 65 is there to bring order not jungle politics of jumping from one tree to another like monkeys. You cannot say am a mp of a party that lost election and we are in opposition, then few months down the line you say we are with the ruling party we dont oppose and you get appointed as cabinet monister what do you call that, opposition?

    1. Angel of Doom says:

      Section 65 has nothing to do with physical movement, who is dull now?

      An MP on the government benches can vote against government, that is what democracy is, not the pedestrian rubbish you are talking about.

      UDF can vote against government, while sitting with government.

      The constitution takes care of that as well. IT says if an MP votes against government, that can not be construed as crossing the floor.

      Why am I wasting time explainung to an idiot.

  34. zimkambani says:

    Crossing the floor can be questioned but loosing the position in parliament is an issue to consider. As Leader of opposition in the house, what has UDF have to say? I do not think it is just a question of resigning from a political party but consider whose interests are they standing for now? Are they standing in the house and in their constituences as in opposition or in the ruling? More research is needed before conclussions are made here. I therefore call forfurther review.

  35. Kenkkk says:

    We should be looking at the wider picture. The fact is the behavior of udf mps and udf party stinks and is less than desirable because they are not giving their views as an independent party on so many national issues such where do they stand on msb, nacgate, the president’s speech in pRliament, etc They are silent on all controversial issues of national importance and didn’t even respond to the Peter’s speech. All this clearly gives the impression that udf has been absorbed into dpp, hence s65 may apply. Personally I don’t think s65 applies here the behavior of udf shows they have lost their autonomy and completely been merged into dpp. Just like one party as the voice of udf has been silenced.

    You may criticize prof Chirwa but he is right the pact is mainly a tribalistic or regional grouping pact.

    We Need to revisit our constitution to iron out many things including the issue of the independent mps.

  36. Jelbin mk says:

    The problem is that the section in question is that it is not clear as to what should happen to anyone who has not left the original party that sponsored him/her into power to join another one but has just put him/herself in conflict with the intention of the section as UDF has done. UDF has put itself in conflict with section 65 in terms of the intention of the existence and implementation of section because the reason behind the establishment of the said section was to make democracy work and avoiding creating an environment where the formation of a single party system could easily find its way. Therefore I personally don’t condone any ruling party asking any member of the August house from opposition to join government side physically, if they want to work together as they claim they could ably work with UDF while still in the opposition benches

  37. Achimidzimidzi says:

    Of UDF MPz have joined DPP as per your our constitution. But it is wrong to assume that you are the most intelligent persons in Malawi when you have not encountered everyone. Only one party will come out of this brothel transaction. The two parties will their original identities.

    Some of us were here during election campaigns and we heard the promises and manifestoes of these parties. And we are failing to merge their visions and what is happening. Therefore don’t take us jealousy or driven by hatred. We were told.

    However, were are wise enough to read their motives so we’re waiting for the time when they will need our decision. That wil be the time of harvesting. Who be unwanted will be seen.

    Do you read the bible? It says you reap what you plant.

  38. Zoziyamba Dala says:

    muchotse section 65 mu constitution.yathu ku malawi ilibe ntchito kuno kwathu. Iyi yimagwira ntchito ku maiko omwe amaziwa kwambiri kayendetsedwe ka ulamuliro wa Democracy osati kwathu kuno .Ife timafuna pofewa basi za munyumba zathu osati ku mtundu wa a Malawi. CHOTSANI yakanika kwathu kuno.

  39. Viva says:

    Prof. Crossing the floor does not mean physically moving from one side of the building to the other side.. It is changing political affiliation..

    1. Charlie Hebdo says:

      You must be daft to think that way. Actually the word “crossing the floor” was coined from the physical movement of members. Why? Two main sides in Parliament are government and opposition. Members of these groups are further allocated seats according to parties they belong. If one switches allegiance, and declares thus (mind you, some members can switch their allegiance while maintaining their seats without declaring it and will not be deemed to have crossed the floor) they will have to move to the party their allegiance is pledged. Since parties are allocated different seats or sides, they will have to move to the side or seats of their new party. To do that they will have to cross the floor to move to their new seats hence the term “crossing the floor”.

      Now to “switching allegiance”. Switching allegiance is deemed crossing the floor. No one can honestly tell me that by joining DPP in government UDF will be promoting its ideals for which its members were voted for. There is simply no way UDF can do anything against DPP wishes. There is simply no way Atupele can do anything against the wishes of APM. Is this what UDF supporters voted for? If this is a coalition government, make public the terms of the coalition. I think the best coalitions are those that are made before an election as people know they are voting into government a coalition whose terms are known and not coalitions that benefit a few individuals and the rest are made to follow blindly. Bravo Lucious for not allowing greed contaminate your reasoning.

  40. truth says:

    A prof I think u are applying a literal translation to the section 65. They have literally crossed the floor from one side to the other but they did not renounce their party and joined DPP. And stop playing the tribal card it’s getting boring.

    1. M23 says:

      Ukufuna kundiuza kuti mkazi wako akasamuka nkumakhala ndi neighbour wako yemwe ndiwamwamuna, nkumamumvera iyeyo, nkumagona chipinda chimodzi, nkumapanga zomwe anthu okwatira amapanga, ndiye kuti sanakusiye chifukwa sananene koma wangotsamuka pakhomopo.

      1. Kenkkk says:

        Excellent analogy !!! But the many blind mbuzi commenting here can’t see.

  41. Lone Ranger says:

    Mwana akamakonda kukhazikika mnyumba mwa kwa aneba ndiye kuti akumadyako bwino. Watch out for another CASH-GATE, back to Dalas!

  42. ZENIZENI says:

    Section 65 yigwire ntchito apa

    Abwere kuno kumudzi

    Tizavotenso basi

  43. mbani says:

    Musova a UDF dyera la atatewanu

  44. Patrick Phiri says:

    Lawyers Danwood Chirwa is a shame tribalist.

  45. CONGO MAFIA says:

    Lucius Banda read between the lines and smelled the rat. That’s why he stood his ground for not moving an inch. But the fanatics will always try to defend the undefendable on their own risks.

  46. Chokani nonse mungoti pusisapo apa zapa mtundu izi,wakuba kubisana akuba okhaokha cheap politics nosense

  47. Angel of Doom says:

    This is the trouble with Malawians. We have huge title, and huge qualifications, that are not backed with knowledge or common sense.

    Section 65:
    The speaker shall declare vacant the seat of any member of the National Assembly who was at the time of his election a member of a political party represented in the National Assembly, other than by that member alone but who has ceased to be a member of that party and has joined another party represented in the National Assembly.

    Before I continue with the section, some observation, that a genius to figure out, that could make some people argue:

    1. What happens if an MP ceased to be a member of a political party on whose ticket he was elected, and joined another party that was not represented in National Assembly? Does that party then suddenly have 1 member of parliament?

    You can argue ether way, that the constitution specifically says a party represented in Parliament, but by the same token, would it be right to give a party a sit in parliament just like that?

    This is a situation where may be we would need the likes of Danwood.

    But the affair Danwood is embarrassing himself with once again does not need a PhD in law.

    UDF members have not ceased to be members of their party, therefore can not be said to have joined DPP, in fact one can argue they are exercising Section 32 (Freedom of association) The are associating with DPP.

    Section 65 has nothing to do with infringement or denying the electorate to decide, as Danwood is trying to imply, that section was repealed, that was the recall section 64, which would have given the electorate the power to question such an association. Section 65 deals with in house matters, its like article of association.Section 64 would have been the memorandum.

    If one is a political neutral expert like Edge Kanyongolo, one always comes up with the right advice, that is why I always check what Kanyongolo says with the law, and he is 99.99% on the button.

    I am not a lawyer, but I can read and have common sense and political neutral.

  48. concerned says:

    Palibe zimenezo. Section 65 igwire ntchito basi. These greedy baboons have crossed the floor there and that and their seats need to be declared vacant. Opposition MPs work with government by providing checks and balances as well as seeking accountability on the part of the government. Since these animals moved to the government benches they are just playing the yes bwana type which is very bad for our young democracy. I personally applaud Soldier Lucius Banda for refusing to move. Zikanakhhala zipani zina mukanamvanso phokoso lake likanachitikalo. Koma poti ndi chipani cholamula ndiye atinamize ife? Do Malawians want to go back to One Party State? Opposition MPs’ do support the government from their respective positions in the opposition benches and not necessarily moving to the government side to show their support. Those who are backing the move aikidwa scone kukamwa. Section 65 NOW NOW NOW!!

  49. Mtumbuka says:

    Enawa mukati ndi law expert what do you mean akukhala ngati anthu samba kaya Ku university ko ana akuwaphutsa chiyani kaya.

  50. jj says:

    Mmmmmh! I am neither DPP nor UDF, but I find the so called Prof Chirwa opinion very tribalistic itself. Of all the words in the world, including tumbuka words of course, he only found the word ” Tribal pact” as befitting this move?? Waoh! What a tribalistic tumbuka hiding behind the robes of a law professor! I pitty your thinking, but I forgive you because I know that its not you, but the invisible tumbuka powers forcing you to do this. YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN! How if Joburg by the way?

  51. Vizete says:

    Kodi mbuli ya prof wa law wa ku Nyikalandyu Ilipo? Nkhani za feudalism adafikanazo pati? Fwetseki!

  52. nobel says:

    So let law experts debate. But to say it’s a tribal pact is real, he could even say a regionalistic pact. Let’s wait n see.

  53. Pro. I think that you have goofed this time around.

  54. Joseph says:

    Firstly, how can you rely on Kaphale to offer anything constructive against his own party? Secondly, Is there any difference between what MPs who cross the floor does any what these UDF MPs are doing now? I mean, they did not even have a say on the National Address for crying out loud. I don’t see any difference except the name used, so why the heck would a learned law lecture at Chancelor college think otherwise? Ooooh don’t answer that, of course it’s because he is from Chancellor college. What position is Chanco again on the Africa’s ranking? A hundred and something jaaah. No wonder.

  55. Sokosi says:

    You will agree with me one day that, with all this, there is a big hidden agenda for……… May be let me not mention the name now.

  56. mangulenje says:

    This so called law expert is tribal himself. He is not being objective. The reading of the law is very clear about the crossing of the floor. What UDF has done is just to sit on the government benches and not necessarily joining DPP.

  57. Kadakwiza says:

    Malawi politics, hurting the poor.

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