The opposition Peoples Party (PP) says it will ask the Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya to invoke Section 65 of the Constitution and punish lawmkaers who have crossed the floor in Parliament.
Mzimba West MP, Harry Mkandawire informed First Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje that the party will bring a petition on an issue that touches on Section 65.
“We have one of our members whom we will be bringing to the attention of the Speaker that he has crossed the floor. That is Honourable [Patrick) Makina,” said Mkandawire.
However, PP expelled Makina from the party and he had decided to join the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
According to Mkandawire, the PP will also petition for Section 65 to be applied for Davis Katsonga of Mwanza Central who has joined DPP.
Said Mkandawire. ”There is a member who came into this House as Chipani Cha Fuko (Katsonga). So, we are bringing in notice that he has crossed the floor.”
The First Deputy Speaker Mcheka Chilenje ruled Mkandawire “out of order”, saying the MP knows the proceduresto take in order to bring issues in the House.
But the Mzimba West MP said : “We are coming formally, Madam First Deputy Speaker.”
He was told to f ollow the “right procedure.”
According to Chancellor College law lecturer Dr. Mwiza Nkhata, technically the seat of a member who has crossed the floor does not become vacant by mere operation of law because the Speaker must make the declaration before the seat can be vacant.
“ In electing a parliamentarian, constituents actually repose their confidence and trust in parliamentarians either as representatives of a particular political party or as independent members.
“The essence of representative democracy is that certain individuals will be democratically chosen to represent particular constituents. It is a betrayal of trust for such parliamentarians to subsequently and unilaterally change their affiliation without the endorsement of their constituents. Such a betrayal of trust also undermines the link that elected representatives must always have with their constituents,” Nkhata is on record saying.
“ It must also be recalled that Section 65 does not completely bar parliamentarians from changing their affiliation; it merely creates space for such parliamentarians to seek a fresh mandate should they decide to change their affiliation. To use the language used by the Malawi Law Commission, the section prevents ‘political immorality’ among parliamentarians,” he argued pursuasively.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :