Monday, June 18, 2007
MCP to petition Speaker on June 29
The Malawi Congress Party has said its first agenda when Parliament petitioning the Speaker to nullify the seats of Members of Parliament would be the first agenda on June 29, 2007 when parliament resume seating following the Supreme Court landmark ruling on the Section 65, MCP has announced.
The party’s spokesperson in Parliament Ishmail Chafukira said the party wants only bonafide MPs to participate in the passing on the national budget and it is going to move the petition during the seating on the June 29.
“It will be the first business to be transacted in parliament when we meet and we want only bonafide MPs to participate,” he said.
Chafukira said his party was delighted with the ruling saying people were given a raw deal adding that as the party MCP was ‘more than’ keen to pass the national budget when presented.
Chafukira called upon government to find money and call for bye elections saying democracy is good but very expensive and government should aware of that.
Malawi Law Commission (MLS) also expresses happiness with the ruling on section 65 it will ease the legal problems which the country has been facing because of the section.
MLS spokesperson Chimwemwe Kalua with the ruling the section empowers the Speaker of Parliament to declare seat vacant of MPs who are deemed to have crossed the floor.
“We are happy now because the ruling is a final determination on the section 65, now there is proper guidance to the section and it is mandatory on the speaker to act with the law,” he said.
He said the ruling and the subsequent declaration vacant of seat of some MPs would not affect the operations of government as the remaining MPs would proceed with the seating of parliament.
“The remaining MPs will be mandated to proceed, debate and pass the budget,” he said cautioning MPs that when debating budget they should bear in Malawi the plight of Malawians.
Soon after the ruling Attorney General (AG) Jane Ansah said she accepted the ruling because it was made by the highest court in Malawi.
“We have received it well, the Supreme Court is the highest jurisdiction in the land and it is final,” she said.
One of the lawyers representing those who were against the removal of section 65 John Gift Mwakhwawa said the move to strike off the section in the Malawi Constitution was a mere attempt to derail the operations of parliament.
“The wish of Malawians has prevailed,” he said.
However one Lawyer of opted for anonymity said the ruling is going to pose a serious legal implications as politicians has been given a lot of power.
“In a normal circumstance the ruling would have been alright, but the way it is it will pose a big challenge to the legal fraternity as parliament as been given a lot of power.
“The reasoning of the Supreme court would be valid in a democracy where a ruling party is in majority in parliament not in the case of Malawi where party is in minority,” he said.
Meanwhile the number of MPs that stand to be affected by this outcome however is not known, as the figures placed in the petitions from a few months ago when the issue of Section 65 was raised are invalid and other MPs have since crossed the floor including MCP member Kate Kainja who made a public defection just after taking on her new post as Minister of Women and Child Development.
“I would be deceiving you if I said there is a number for the affected Members of Parliament. I think that every party will have to seat down and assess the damage. It will then be known. At the moment the figures we may have had before the ruling are invalid, there is no way the speaker can use those,” said United Democratic Front Spokesman Sam Mpasu.