United Democratic Front (UDF) members of Parliament (MPs) can join their Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) counterparts on the government benches in Parliament, Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale has advised Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya .
UDF whose leader Atupele Muluzi drafted in President Peter Mutharika’s Cabinet as Minister of Energy, Natural Resources and Mining, requested the Speaker to relocate its 14 MPs to government benches to reflect the governing pact.
Kaphale confirmed providing the legal opinion to the Speaker on UDF’s request that will not be contravening any law which means UDF MPs would be required to move to the government benches when Parliament meeting resumes in May for the 2015/16 budget deliberations.
UDF chief whip in Parliament Lilian Patel said the move to relocate to government benches was agreed by the party during “ caucuses”.
Constitutional law expert Edge Kanyongolo, who is an associate professor of law at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, argued that there is no defection in the relocation as Section 65 did not refer to the physical movement of MPs in the House, but the act of leaving one political party to join another or an organisation whose objectives are political in nature.