Balaka North Parliamentarian Lucius ‘soldier’ Banda who is also the leader of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in Parliament has refused to relocate to the side of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in parliament.
Two of the 14 legislators—Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Atupele Muluzi and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament Clement Chiwaya—would not be affected by the relocation by virtue of their positions.
The move to government benches has brought cracks among UDF legislators with their National Assembly leader Lucius Banda informing Speaker that he will not be party to those relocating.
Banda said he feels the move will completely kill of the visibility of the party in the House as they will be under DPP leadership in the chamber.
” I am UDF MP and as such with powers that I was given by my voters and chiefs from my constituents I remain UDF member from opposition side not joining the government benches, as doing that ist against the wish of my superiority in this case the electorate”, Banda told Nyasa Times in an interview.
“My constituents cannot go to bed with UDF and wake up with DPP,” he added.
UDF secretary general Kandi Pandambo said the move follows the party’s successful application to the Speaker of parliament.
Speaker Richard Msowoya said UDF will not be contravening any law by physically moving and changing the sitting arrangement in the August House.
“Following the application by the UDF, my office consulted the attorney general (Kalekeni Kaphale) who said the two parties can share seats. Therefore, there is nothing wrong since MPs are free in parliament,” said Msowoya.
Section 65 of the country`s constitution prohibits members of parliament from defecting.
However constitutional law expert Edge Kanyongolo, who is an associate professor of law at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, said the party is free to move.
“There is no defection in the relocation as Section 65 does not refer to the physical movement of MPs in the House, but the act of leaving one political party to join another or an organization whose objectives are political in nature contravenes the law,” said Kanyongolo.
Fellow legal expert and director of Justice Link Justin Dzonzi concurred with Kanyongolo, saying the decision does not pose any threat to democracy.
“There is nothing wrong with this arrangement constitutionally because it doesn`t mean the UDF is deregistering by changing seats,” said Dzodzi.
DPP leader in the House Francis Katsaira said his party is looking forward to the new setup.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :