Commentators have described the decision by some independent Members of Parliament (MPs) who have joined political parties in the National Assembly as breaching the trust of their constituents.
“Almost all political parties represented in parliament had candidates in various constituencies, but people decided to vote for independent MPs.
That means the voters had a basis for that decision, so it is unfortunate that some MPs have decided to breach the trust their constituents had on them,” said lawyer, Justin Dzonzi.
He said it was important that whatever decision a Member of Parliament makes should be sanctioned by the voters.
“If they want to stand on a party ticket, they could have waited for the next election, other than disappointing their constituents. Most of such MPs don’t really consult the people that voted for them,” he said.
Dzonzi, however, said independent MPs could not be affected with Section 65 of the Republican Constitution. He said the law is silent on them. On his part, another commentator Rafiq Hajat said such MPs have shown opportunistic behaviour.
“Such MPs will pay a price in the next election. That is why in every election the rate of turn-over is low. These people should know that lessons are there to learn” he said.
Foundation for Community Support Services (Focus) Executive Director Kossam Munthali said the conduct displayed by some independent MPs is uncalled for and should not be tolerated.
“What has happened is something expected of political opportunists only, people who want to meet their own self-interests at the expense of impoverished multitudes they claim to be representing,” Munthali said.
He trashed the politicians’ claims that they consulted constituents before changing benches arguing that the recent series of political events in the country have not given the legislators’ time to seek advice from the electorate.
“Since the electoral body announced official results we all know our MPs have not rested. They went straight into Parliament business, so one wonders where they got the time to ask voters because if the campaign period took about a month so should have been the consultations because they ought to hit all corners of the areas they are representing,” he explained.
He termed it as “poverty of the mind” for members of the august house to assert that they would serve constituents better in terms of development while in a ruling party.
“I call that treachery because budget allocations for constituencies are equal regardless of the political colours of an MP and if people entrusted a person with votes on an independent ticket it means they are okay if he or she serves them in that capacity,” he added.
Up to 23 independent MPs have crossed to the political parties, 4 to Malawi Congress Party and 19 to the Democratic Progressive Party.