Vocal human rights activist Billy Mayaya has hit at Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale on the way he is acting on issues surrounding the position of United Democratic Front (UDF) MPs in Parliament in the face of Section 65 anti-defection law for moving to government benches.
Kaphale wrote Speaker Richard Msowoya expressing that he already gave legal advise as government principal legal adviro that aUDF MPs have not resigned from their party or joined governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), they cannot be deemed to have crossed the floor.
He also asked the Speaker to dismiss the petition by Mayaya because it was irreguraly brought to parliament as he is not a member of the august House and that the AG was not convinced UDF MPs crossed the floor.
But Malawi Law Society (MLS) secretary Khumbo Soko said the decision whether to declare a seat vacant is exclusively for the Speaker and is not for any other office or authority.
Mayaya said he welcomes the position of the Malawi Law Society that “any citizen can move the Speaker to invoke Section 65. “
He told Nyasa Times: “It is therefore disconcerting that the Attorney General is deliberating using black letter law to stifle the voice of citizens in a matter that is pushing popular opinion on matters of democratic governance to the priphery.
“How can MPs be a law unto themselves? Section 64 was removed by MPs so that they are above the law. The Constitution provides for impeachment procedures for the Presidency, Judges can be removed but ambiguity is deliberately created to mask the excessive powers that MPs have over the very people who elected them. This cannot continue. We demand not only the return of Section 64 but more decisive action on the 11 UDF members who crossed the floor.”
Eleven of UDF’s 14 MPs moved to the government benches to cement their party’s working relationship with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in whose Cabinet UDF president Atupele Muluzi is serving as Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security.
Former UDF leader in Parliament Lucius Banda, Second Deputy Speaker Clement Chiwaya and Muluzi were not affected by the movement.