At least 85 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members of parliament who on Thurday shot down a Constitutional Amendment Bill to have a provision for a run-off in case no presidential candidate garners over 50 percent of the total votes cast, have been dragged to court for contempt.
Lawyer Ayuba James also said Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has also instructed him to take the 12 members of parliament who abstained to court for the same offence of contempt of court.
“This amendment did not just come from the ordinary, it was an order of the Constitutional Court. The National Assembly was duty bound to pass the bill,” he said.
The amendment bill was defeated after it failed to garner two thirds majority vote in the House.
Any constitutional amendment requires two thirds majority which means 128 legislators in in the 193-seat National Assembly.
There were 183 MPs present out of whom 109 voted ‘Yes’ while 72, mostly from the government benches, said ‘No’ and one abstained.
Ayuba said any court interpretation becomes law automatically- essentially means that 50+1 majority of the votes for electing a president is a law and would be used to determine the results.
He said anyone, including parliament, are duty bound to respect court orders.
In its judgement of the presidential election case on 3rd February,2020,the Constitutional Court clarified that Section 80(2) of the constitution already provides for the 50+1 system of voting but asked legislators to come up with a law that would necessitate a run-off in case no candidate gets over half of the total votes.
This is what has been defeated.
Parliament was meeting Friday afternoon to consider the consequences of the failure to pass the Bill.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :