Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is today expected to petition the Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda to start a process of invoking Section 65 of the Constitution to force the party’s legislators who defected to the ruling People’s Party out of Parliament.
The DPP which spent the past eight years in government and has been fighting in courts so that Section 65 should never be used on its MPs suddenly finds itself in the opposition benches and in a precarious position where it has already lost more than half of its MPs who have declared themselves independent while supporting the governing People’s Party (PP).
Unfortunately for the DPP it continues to lose MPs every other day.
Party Secretary General Wakuda Kamanga confirmed in an interview on Sunday that the party is writing Chimunthu Banda on the matter since the law provides that the speaker should be petitioned.
“Yes, we are petitioning the speaker, I think the party will write him tomorrow (today) but I don’t have details. Why can’t you speak to the DPP’s Leader of the House,” said Kamanga.
DPP’s Leader of the House George Chaponda could not be reached on his mobile phone yesterday.
On his part, new DPP Publicity Secretary Nicholas Dausi confirmed yesterday that the party would be penning Chimunthu Banda over the issue of crossing the floor.
“Some people are saying we should not (petition) because the party survived on a similar case before 2009, but we are saying two wrongs do not make a right,” said Dausi, who has replaced Hetherwick Ntaba, who is now the party’s Director of International Relations.
A senior Parliamentary source said Chimunthu could not act on Section 65 alone without being moved by somebody as Standing Orders, rules governing the operations of the House, demand that he should be petitioned first.
The source’s views are contrary to assertions by prominent lawyers in the country who have been calling on Chimunthu Banda to act on Section 65 as long as he was convinced that some of the legislators had crossed the floor.
However, our source said the Standing Order Section 46 was put in place to allow for rules of natural justice to take their course as a Member of Parliament has to be heard first.
At least 103 Members of Parliament are now sitting on government side, including former cabinet minister Aaron Sangala and Anna Kachikho and most of those members are from DPP, which faced a political crisis after the death of its founder, Bingu wa Mutharika.
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