Malawi's CSO leaders push Speaker to apply Section 65 next sitting

Civil society organizations (CSO) leaders in Malawi are pushing speaker of the national assembly to ensure that Sections 65 of the country’s constitution –is revoked during the next parliamentary session which starts on November 12 in the capital Lilongwe.

The provision which is in Malawi’s constitution bars any parliamentarian from joining a political organisation represented in parliament unless his or her seat is declared vacant.

The CSO’s move comes few days after Public Affairs Committee (PAC) meeting held in the commercial capital Blantyre hinted on the subject saying that the lawmakers should ensure that provision is implanted.

Chairperson of Council for Non-governmental Organisations in Malawi (CONGOMA), Voice Mhone, says its high time Malawi should be serious on applying the law saying the exodus that has been taking place is worrying.

Mhone: Invoke Section 65

“It should be invoked so that we should stop the habit of crossing the flour at will by members of parliament and if we don’t do it now the danger is that come 2014, who ever will come into government, will sweep in all the opposition parliamentarians,” says Mhone.

He denied reports that the move is aimed at targeting President Joyce Banda’s People’s Party (PP) which boasts legislators from various political parties.

“It’s not a matter of targeting the PP government but we have learnt from the mistakes we have made in the past by ignoring this sections but if you look at the exodus that has been there, it’s a worrying  development. So we feel this is a right time to put teeth to this provision”.

Mhone also says his organisation is doing what it takes to force government authorities to hold tripartite elections in 2014.

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