Chakwera to push for Section 65 implementation
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Rev. Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, expected to take up the leader of the opposition title in the National Assembly, has vowed to ensure Section 65 of the Constitution is applied to prevent Members of Parliament (MPs) from crossing the floor.
The provision which is in Malawi’s constitution bars defections of lawmakers.
It says the Speaker shall declare vacant a seat of an MP who was, at the time of his or her election, a member of one political party represented in the National Assembly, other than by that member alone, but who has voluntarily ceased to be a member of that party and has joined another political party represented in the National Assembly.
Chakwera, whose party got 48 MPs in the May 20 Tripartite Elections and has added two independent legislators, said MCP is ready to support implementation of Section 65.
In an interview at Bingu Conference Centre in Lilongwe during an orientation seminar of new Members of Parliament organized by Parliament in conjunction with the Common Wealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Chakwera said MCP wants the law to punish MPs who cross the floor.
“I must speak this in strongest terms ever that political prostitution is deadly to our young democracy, it grabs the electorate rights and indeed people we represent feel betrayed’’ said Chakwera.
The MCP leader also called on all Malawians not to clap hands for such “crosstitutes” saying they have for a long time pushed their own people into alarming poverty levels.
“We need to use our own laws to dwindle such habits. Good laws not repulsive laws,” said Chakwera.
There are fears that some MPs from their parties may switch sides and join the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which got 50 MPs.
Former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika of DPP struggled in his first term, especially in 2007, when MCP insisted on implementation of Section 65 in Parliament following the crossing of floor by some MCP MPs to DPP.