Law experts say Kachali cannot be disqualified

Law experts have argued that State Vice President Khumbo Kachali, who has resigned from People’s Party to rejoin opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cannot be disqualified as parliamentary candidate for Mzimba South West.

PP officials are asking the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to consider postpone elections in the constituency which Kachale was contesting as a PP candidate.

But former Justice Minister, Ralph Kasambara who is one of the legal counsel for Kachali, said the vice president will not be affected with anti-defection law Section 65 should he win the elections following his move from PP to DDP.

Kasambara, who is also one of the country’s prominent lawyers, took it on Facebook Tuesday night posting that as matters stand, Kachali is not under any confrontation with the law due to his move which he says has come in a good time.

Kasambara:  Musova
Kasambara: Musova

“ Section 65.–(1) The Speaker shall declare vacant the seat of any member of the 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,” posted Kasambara

He adds: “My reading of the constitution is that the operative time is ‘at the time of his or her election’ now if I dump my party before elections, does section 65 apply to me? Musova (You sort it out),” his posting concludes.

And University of Malawi’s Chancellor College based law expert Professor Edge Kanyongolo has said Kachali’s candidature cannot be affected by his resignation from PP.

“Kachali will still contest under the banner of People’s Party and that is what is in the files of Malawi Electoral Commission files. He will only face challenges if he wins and insist that he is not a PP member because in that case section 65 will be applied,” said Kanyongolo.

Kachali and President Joyce Banda collaborated to form PP and eventually took over government after the sudden death of Bingu Mutharika in April 2012.

But sour relationship between the two appeared when Banda left out Kachali as running mate and opted for youthful Sosten Gwengwe.

Kachali initially wanted to join Malawi Congress Party (MCP) but he was not admitted into the party. He  could not return to UDF where he once  served as treasurer general as his foul-mouthing against UDF president Atupele Muluzi forced the UDF leader to quit cabinet.

The vice president then decided to recycle himself to DPP.

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