Supreme Court Judge Dunstain Mwaungulu has given an expert legal opinion to Public Affairs Committee (PAC) in relation to controversial anti defection law Section 65 indicating that the Speaker’s hands are not tied under the current law and PAC has called for action.
This was disclosed by PAC chairperson Rev Dr Felix Chimbote when the religious body met Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya and his team on Wednesday at Parliament Building in Lilongwe over implementation of Section 65 and other constitutional issues.
Rev Chingota said Justice Mwaungulu, who represented the Chief Justice in offering a legal opinion, gave “ another angle on the interpretation of Section 65. He emphasized the fact that the Speaker’s hands are not tied under the current law. The law still gives him/her powers where MPs have crossed the floor.”
He said PAC’s position on Section 65 is that the Speaker, as the constitutional provision stands now, has powers to invoke Section 65 and expel members of Parliament (MPs) who cross the floor.
“It is our belief therefore that the practice on the application of Section 65 should be revisited by your office,” Chingota told the Speaker. “ It should not be business as usual that your hands are tied up. We trust that this time around any MP that crosses the floor must face the wrath of this law. “
Chingota said PAC also drafted the former Speaker, Henry Chimunthu Banda, as a “resource person to appreciate technicalities on Section 65.”
PAC demanded “transformative leadership “in dealing with the anti-defection law.
“Please deal with those who cross the floor because there is already a school of thought that as Speaker of National Assembly, you have the powers to take such decisions,” Chingota told Speaker Msowoya
PAC said its delegates during a consultative meeting demanded to swiftly move in dealing with the constitutional review in order to cover various gaps that exist in the Republican Constitution.
Among issues that stakeholders want to be addressed in the constitutional review is to do with the election of a President.
PAC backs the suggestion that a presidential candidate must muster a 50+1 percentage vote to be declared a winner and not just a simple majority vote as is the case.
In the May 2014 presidential race, President Peter Mutharika won with a majority vote of 36.4 percent.