Law experts dismiss ‘misguided’ FND on Speakers resignation calls: ‘Msowoya hasn’t violated Constitution’

Private practice lawyer Justin Dzonzi who is also  chairperson of the taxpayer-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC)  and constitutional law expert Edge Kanyongolo have  dismissed calls by Forum for National Development (FND) Speaker of Malawi’s National Assembly Richard Msowoya to resign for joining United Transformation Movement (UTM) as “misguided”.

Msowoya: We are robbing the country of development because of greed..

Kanyongolo: Nothing wrong with Speaker joining UTM

FND, which is reportedly being bankrolled by the State machinery,  last Tuesday said the Speaker should resign within seven days, saying he has lost legal authority to apply section 65 (1) of the country’s constitution which prohibits Members of Parliament (MPs) from crossing the floor.

FND National Coordinator Fryson Chozi, Chairperson Bright Kampawundi and a concerned citizen Philip Kamangira argued that by joining UTM – a political movement being led by State Vice President Saulos Chilima – Msowoya has crossed the floor and violated Section 65 of the Constitution.

But Dzonzi said Msowoya has joined a movement that has no representation in Parliament as the law punishes MPs who voluntarily quit political parties that sponsored them to parliament and join another party also represented in the National Assembly.

Section 65 (1) reads, “The Speaker shall declare vacant the seat of any member of the grouping in National Assembly 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 or has joined another political party represented in the National Assembly, or has joined any other political party, or association or organization whose objectives or activities are political in nature”.

Dzonzi said the “critical element” is that the party or the association he has joined must have its own members of parliament “in order for it to have the capacity to be joined in terms of Section 65 or to be crossed over to.”

On his part, constitutional law expert Kanyongolo said the law is very clear that those members of parliament who joined a political party or grouping outside parliament cannot be affected by Section 65 of the Republican Constitution.

“The resignation in this case is voluntary. What the Forum for National Development is asking the Speaker is just to resign. He can resign or not but he is not breaking any law,” said Kanyongolo.

Kanyongolo said declaration of parliamentary seats vacant and resignation are two different things.

“We should not read too much out of this. If the Speaker does not want to resign, there is no problem,” he said.

Political commentator Humphrey Mvula has also trashed the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) connected FND’s calls for Speaker to resign, saying this would harm the DPP most than the United Transformation Movement.

Mvula said the DPP would be the worst hit if Section 65 is revoked.

“The FND is just doing a master’s job. The DPP has Uladi Mussa, Ralph Jooma and Christopher Ngwira in the party and many others from PP and UDF. Everyone would be affected if Section 65 is used,” he said.

Spokesperson for the Malawi Congress Party Maurice Munthali said the party would welcome any challenge in court if the FND does it legally and procedurally.

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Guest
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Whether Masowoya violated or did not violate any constitution, the man is useless in politics… whether he should resign or not resign ,…. the man is not a political magnet…

Popapo
Guest
Popapo

The only doubt about Msowoyais his loyalty to SKC because even on his shirt he made sure there was no face of SKC, may be by mistake and possibly the new transformative minds from day one onwards. Bravo let us change 360 degrees kuvalana khope aieesh please. SKC how is he looking at this himself !!

santana
Guest
santana

UTM and MCP will be fighting for a seat of Opposition Leader. However, I don’t see MCP losing this seat to this Bus company.

kaitano
Guest
kaitano

In fact itt will be D.P.P your party and U.T.M fighting for opposition, mark my words Santana, by the way how are you?

Chamama
Guest
Chamama

Kanyongolo and Dzonzi are idiots. This idiocy by our so-called learned people is what is killing Malawi. Section 65 stipulates that an MP can be expelled if she or he has joined (1) a party represented in parliament, (2) any other party (3) an organisation whose objectives or activities are political in nature. UTM falls in the third category and Msowoya should be expelled based on that.

Martin
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Martin

Why should people only become idiots when they are opposing what dpp is doing or saying? Idiots are those who doesn’t see their own stupidity like dpp leaders and supporters who smiles when mp s from other parties jumps ship and join them and see nothing wrong, when the same thing happens to them they cry like babies. How long has it been since you paraded Uladi, Jooma, Nangozo , Jumbe, etc, then who are idiots here?

Central
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Central

Who is an idiot between the laws of Malawi and the two gentlemen? Kanyongolo and Dzonzi are merely saying what the Law means!! To me Chodzi and Kampaundi are the ones who are idiots!! Why? Its because as Mr Mvula has said Chozi’s shallow thinking is that Msowoya who might be coordinator when it comes to initiating impeachment will be finished, not knowing that they are punishing their own party, DPP because if implemented Uladi, Ngwira and colleagues who are now in DPP will equally be affected!! And kumeneko ndiye kudzikhweza chifukwa achina Winiko, Kaliati, Masangwi, etc are already out… Read more »

Masuzygo
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Masuzygo

IWE CHAMAMA
SECTION 65 SHOULD BE INVOKED ON YOUR MOTHER CHIFUKWA AKUDYETSA KATUNDU AMENE ANAPANGIDWA SPONSOR NDI BAMBO AKO .
TAKE CARE USANDIKWIYITSE

MBUNA
Guest
MBUNA

MCP should move a motion to impeach Msowoya. He has moved the floor.

Agenda Setting Theory
Guest
Agenda Setting Theory

Section 65 is a weak law. It should affect any person who has ceased to be what “he was” when elected to parliament. For example, in 2014 people had a chance to choose an MP from MCP, UDF, PP, DPP and Independent candidate. If some was elected as an independent it means people wanted to be represented by an independent. Then when he/she goes to parliament he/she decides to join a political party. Is that fair? If one wants to cross the floor is he/she must seek fresh mandate. Otherwise there is no need to have Section 65

LEGO
Guest

So why do we have section 65 in our laws of Malawi if this law is not applied?Why don’t you declare these seats vacant and have by-elections eg Uladi Mussa,Ralph Jooma,Christopher Ngwira etc?

Yahya Yahya Jammeh
Guest

What else do you expect to hear from people that have been paid stolen money. They just raise issues without actually understanding the laws of the country. Let section 65 be applied and see how may will fall out from DPP. In fact the Speak should do it now.

MAPUYA MULUPALE
Guest
MAPUYA MULUPALE

anthu malamulo simumawadziwa .sekishoni 65 imati ngati munthu alowa chipani kapena kagulu komwe nkandale komwe kali ndi mphungu kapena chipani chomwe chili ndi phungu mnyumba ya malamulo ameneyo waphwanya lamuloli. ndiye UTM ILIBE MPHUNGU MNYUMBA YA MALAMULO.

Sikusinja
Guest
Sikusinja

In other words, section 65 is useless because it can affect a lot of parties that have defected. You wonder why have laws in the first place. The speaker himself is weak because he was supposed to be declaring seats vacant as soon as MP’s crossed the floor. But a Malawi tulo and we watch the legislature flout its own laws.

Rodney simwaka
Guest
Rodney simwaka

The regulations say a member has to move a motion..The speaker cannot move a motion

Kangoma
Guest
Kangoma

Point of correction ,Mr Uladi had no party when he was joining the DPP. Be reminded that he was dismissed from PP after he showed interest to challenge J.B during convention.

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