DPP to drag Speaker to court over Section 65

Former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) says it is taking the Speaker’s ruling on section 65 to court to challenge it.

Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda has thrown out DPP petitions on Section 65 as the party is pushing to have almost 40 members of parliament thrown out of the House for joining the PP.

Anger and drama characterised the Speaker’s ruling leading to Mzimba Hora MP Reverend Christopher Ngwira being thrown out of the chamber after labeling the ruling ‘empty’ while the entire DPP representation also walked out in anger.

In his ruling Chimunthu Banda explained that after going through the petitions which also had citations of previous court rulings and the Speaker’s past pronouncements, he felt that the petitions have no enough evidence.

Dausi: Speaker unfair

“I therefore give the petitioner the opportunity to provide to me the required evidence as soon as it is possible to him and I will communicate to the House,” he said.

After the ruling the Speaker out ruled members who wanted to speak on point of orders by saying that opening the issue to debate would be unprocedural.

Amidst the noise from both sides of the House it was when Reverend Ngwira was overheard shouting: “Mr. Speaker Sir, your ruling is empty.”

He instantly attracted the wrath of Chimunthu Banda, who applied Standing Order 103 to send him out.

Meanwhile, DPP spokesman Nicholas Dausi said it was “very unfair and unfortunate” for the Speaker to rule that way when he himself on May 24, 2012 announced in the house that 45 legislators had dumped DPP and have joined PP.

“We find it very unfair and unfortunate that the speaker said he wants evidence now when he himself announced in the house on May 24 that those members had dumped DPP and joined PP. Now that the Speaker has failed to make a decision and has referred the matter back to us, we are going to court right now to challenge it,” he said.

Dausi also said it was unfortunate for the Speaker to demand evidence now when he should have done it in the seven days that the Speaker had given the parliamentarians in question to defend themselves.

“If the Speaker had some reservations or a burden with the matter, he should have done that in the seven days that he gave the members to defend themselves. We have discussed and our forward is we are going to court right now,” said Dausi.

Dausi said the Speaker was trying to turn himself into a Judge by asking the DPP to bring evidence on the matter as if it were in a court of law.

Asked as to why the DPP legislators wanted the section to be applied on members who have started working with the ruling PP, when a similar incident happened to them sometime back, Dausi said DPP was referring to a ruling by retired Justice Richard Banda sometime back which said a parliamentarian will have crossed the floor by leaving another party and joins another party even if the party wasn’t there during elections.

The DPP parliamentarians who had left the house just soon after Speakers remarks on the matter only came back after tea break after holding a caucus where they resolved to challenge the ruling in court and demand the court to force the Speaker make a ruling on the Section.

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