Youth activists march in Mzuzu over Section 65

Two youth activists in Mzuzu on Thursday marched from Katoto to Mzuzu City Council Offices to deliver a petition asking Speaker of Parliament, Henry Chimunthu Banda, to immediately step down “to pave way for new democratic thinking in the National Assembly” over Section 65 saga.

But the Speaker’s office said they will respond once they receive the petition.

Carrying a banner written “evoke section 65, respect the rule of law”, the  activists Charles Kajoloweka and Tega Mwaruasa said the invocation of the anti-defection law for legislators , Section 65, is not the prerogative of the Head of State arguing that it is the preserve of the Speaker of Parliament.

“The President’s interference into matters of the legislature… is disturbing and is shielding notorious captives of politics of the belly who were part of the previous regime that plunged this country into socio-economic and political disorder,” they said.

But at the Civic Offices, the marchers were met by the Council’s messengers who were tasked to receive their petition but the duo asked to present the petition to the director of administrator Victor Masina.

Mzuzu City Council CEO Richard Hara is in Namibia for official duties.

Masina, was in a meeting with vendors and asked the marchers to wait. They waited for two hours until another officer, Christopher Chiotcha Phiri was sent to receive their petition.

Change

Kajoloweka, who read the two paged petition before handing over to Phiri, did not hide his displeasure of being made to wait for two hours.

“While we are calling for change of leadership at Parliament, we are also asking government to revamp the public service for its gross inefficiency,” Kajoloweka said.

In their petition, a copy Nyasa Times obtained, the duo attacks Chimuthu Banda’s tardiness in responding to petitions from the DPP saying it smacks of abject dishonesty and an abdication of authority and office.

“Your conduct over section 65 is not only a betrayal of national trust, integrity and conscience but also a staid restraint in achieving the country’s enviable democracy and development,” reads part of the petition.

Alliance for Democracy (Aford) Chairperson for Elections Dan Msowoya, who joined the duo at the Civic Office, also called for Chimunthu Banda’s ouster saying he has been blatantly incompetent.

“We have come here today to demand the fullness of freedom and security of Justice. We say to all Malawians that this is no time to indulge in the luxury of carousing. Now  is the time to make thepromises of democracy and justice” Msowoya said on the sidelines.

President Joyce Banda said this week when she hosted a UK delegation led by London’s Minister for Africa and the United Nations Henry Bellingham,  that declaring vacant seats of MPs who cross the floor is the domain of the Speaker.

“It is up to the Speaker to declare seats vacant and we will go for an election,” said Banda.

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