Malawi Congress Party (MCP) MP for Lilongwe Msozi South, Vitus Dzoole Mwale has told parliament that the move nby United Democratic Front (UDF) to join government benches in the national assembly has created a constitutional crisis.
The UDF relocation became a hot issue Wednesday when some members of parliament wanted to find out more what it meant with in line with other positions.
Rising on a point of order, Mwale wanted to know from the Speaker what the development meant in relation to anti-defection law Section 65 of the constitution after Salima North MP Kaphamtengo Yona questioned the Speaker Richard Msowoya on the status to the position of leader of UDF, Lucius Banda, who has remained in the opposition benches.
“ I need also to be schooled since our colleagues from UDF are in government and you have noted that the leader of UDF in this august House is here in the opposition, what is it? According to the arrangement, is he still going to be the leader of UDF in this Honourable House? The leader of UDF is in this opposition side, his followers, because you can be leader if you have followers. His followers are seated there,” Yona said.
Dzoole Mwale also stood and told the House that Yona has raise “a very important issue” concerning the “constitutional crisis” that has been created in Parliament.
“Mr Speaker Sir, it is important that this House should have a very clear clarification and understanding how and why this arrangement has happened in this House,” said Dzoole Mwale.
He wanted to know if the Speaker will involve Section 65.
Under Section 65 of the Constitution, an MP is deemed to have contravened the provision if the member ceases to be a member of a party or joins another party represented in Parliament.
Lawyers argue that since UDF MPs have not relinquished their party membership, Section 65 cannot catch them.
Speaker had at the beginning of the day’s deliberations explained that UDF will not be responding to speeches, meaning Lucius Banda will be a lame duck leader and also not be in the Business Committee of Parliament but UDF chief whip , Lilian Patel will be in the committee.
“Now that the UDF is on the government side, it will not be responding to speeches made in the House. However, their Chief Whip continues to be a member of the business committee,” Msowoya said.
MP for Dedza South West Clement Mlombwa queried the composition of the members of the business committee.
“What does this mean in terms of our Standing Orders?” Mlombwa said.
He cited Standing Order 155 which reads:
“The Business Committee shall consist of: (a) the Speaker, (b) Leader of the House (c) Leader of Opposition (d) Government Chief Whip (e) leaders of parties not in government f) Opposition party Whips (g) Deputy Speakers shall be ex-officio members.”
UDF described its partnership with DPP as a ‘parliamentary coalition’.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :