Acting DPP President Prof. Peter Mutharika and leader of the party in parliament Dr. George Chaponda on Thursday walked out of parliament in protest after Speaker Chimunthu Banda made his ruling on Section 65 petitions.
Soon after taking his chair, the Speaker went straight to make the ruling on the matter, saying the petitioner – DPP – did not provide evidence that the petitioned members really crossed the floor.
“Having gone through the petitions there is no evidence from the petitioner that the petitioned members have joined another party. The chair requires evidence and once that is done we will come back to the issue. Thank you,” said Chimunthu as the opposition benches shouted in protest.
MP for Mzimba Hora, Reverend Christipher Ngwira wanted to stand on point but the Speaker overruled and as the MP insisted to speak the Speaker lost his patience and invoked 103 – ordering the MP to go out.
This further angered the opposition benches.
Later Prof. Mutharika and Dr. Chaponda walked out of the house in protest. They were followed by former ministers Patricia Kaliati, Nicholas Dausi and Jean Kalilani and several others.
Meanwhile, the DPP MPs regrouped and started meeting, with Dr. Chaponda saying they will issue a statement later.
“We did not walk out in protest but we wanted to meet and find the way forward. We will issue a statement after this meeting,” said Dr. Chaponda.
Section 65, touted as Malawi’s pillar of democracy, has been a hanging political sword since Malawi embraced multiparty democracy.
When late President Bingu wa Mutharika quit UDF to form his DPP, scores of UDF MPs followed him but the section was never applied with the late President saying the law was undemocratic.