“Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that in accordance with Section 86 of the Constitution, the President, Bingu wa Mutharika, be indicted by this house on grounds of serious violations of the constitution and the laws of the Republic of Malawi,” Lucius Banda.
Following this motion, among other things, the then Speaker of Parliament, Mr Rodwell Munyenyembe collapsed in the chamber and later died, Lucius Banda himself was jailed for allegedly using a forged certificate.
Fast forward to today, we have come full circle. Another Mutharika is the President of the Republic, Lucius Banda is back in parliament after reclaiming his seat in 2014 elections, and we have a new Speaker in Hon Richard Msowoya.
For several reasons, impeachment should not be bandied about lightly. However, with the vultures out to get the Speaker of Parliament, Honourable Richard Msowoya; one can surmise that it has already been imprinted in some peoples’ minds and plans, hence our joining the fray.
First and foremost, as once aptly remarked by the great Chinua Achebe, the fact that ‘an old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb’; should deter politicians from talking about impeachment without thinking its implications through.
Secondly, pondering impeaching the Speaker, when one is standing on shaky grounds, tantamounts to a sure-fire stupidity of starting a fight in a swimming pool, when you know very well that you can’t swim.
We are alluding to the fact that the object of Impeachment, the Speaker of Parliament is, as we speak, holding all the aces. We will revisit this and elaborate later.
This is why, in our studied view, with respect to intentions and schemes to impeach the Speaker of Parliament – for whatever reasons, both proverbs above apply.
Let us, for a moment, assume that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) alliance indeed moves to impeach RM. To succeed, they will need to amass a two thirds majority.
At last count, this alliance did not have the numbers to make a two thirds majority. Again, this alliance has already lost some people most notably Honourable Lucius Banda whose disgust with this marriage is very thinly veiled.
Further, according to our intel, many parliamentarians even from the Lhomwe belt, are now working – behind the scenes – with the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leadership which they deem more ‘approachable’ as compared to their own leader who now lives in an ivory tower, happily surrounded by his blue eyed advisors and “special assistants” and praise singers.
With the respect to the UDF, it has its own problems. First, apart from the party leader and his immediate family, the other parliamentarians are beginning to ask the question:
“What exactly is in this alliance for us, for our constituents and for Malawi?”
With the overwhelming sense of déjà vu that has come with occupying the unenviable position of going to bed with the infamous architects of the Cashgate Loot and Carry scandal, UDF MPs are having second thoughts.
They are not too dumb to be aware that maintaining and sustaining an alliance with the engineers of Cashgate will be interpreted – by voters – as birds of a feather flocking together.
The truth is: all these factors do not augur well for a bloc that needs each and every vote from its ranks, plus votes from independents, to make the charges against the Speaker stick and secure a two thirds majority.
Finally, it is common knowledge the DPP/UDF alliance is having a tough time in parliament where the opposition MCP/PP bloc seems to have an edge.
Flipping the coin to the other side, once DPP/UDF alliance makes its bid and fails, it can bet on one thing. When late Bingu was preaching and practicing politics of tit-for-tat, MCP and Peoples Party (PP) were not asleep. They learnt a thing or two.
And this is where President Peter Mutharika will wish Section 86 did not exist in the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi. Section 86, verbatim, reads:
“The President or First Vice-President shall be removed from office where the President or First Vice-President, as the case may be, has been indicted and convicted by impeachment.
The procedure for impeachment shall be as laid down by the Standing Orders of Parliament, provided that they are in full accord with the principles of natural justice and that indictment and conviction by impeachment shall only be on the grounds of serious violation of the Constitution or serious breach of the written laws of the Republic that either occurred or came to light during the term of office of the President or the First Vice-President….”
The previous Parliament approved the August House’ new Standing Orders which among several changes have seen the provision of impeachment procedures.
This implies that unlike the 2005 bid to impeach late Bingu wa Mutharika, which was a non-starter there being no clarity on the provision of impeachment procedures; President Peter Mutharika is a sitting duck.
The opposition merely needs to find the grounds.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :