Speaker of the National Assembly in Malawi has failed to invoke the dreaded Section 65 after the Peoples Party (PP) obtained a court injunction restraining any ruling against its MPs.
The ruling on Section 65 was initially slated for yesterday parliamentary session. However, Henry Chimunthu Banda claimed that there was no evidence to declare vacant seats for MPs who have left their political parties to join other political parties represented in Parliament.
“Having gone through the petitions [presented before me by DPP] 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,” he told the jam packed house.
Ironically, it was the Speaker who announced names of MPs who had written him to join different parties in Parliament, especially PP. Chimunthu claims on evidence then aroused anger and strong protests from the opposition DPP. Things were calmed after DPP agreed to send the Speaker his own Gazetted records.
But after taking a seat in the chamber this morning, the speaker revealed to the anticipating MPs of what would be of their fate.
“Members I wish to announce that I have been served with a court injunction by the Attorney General and Minister of Justices [in the PP-led government], Ralph Kasambala] restraining me from making my ruling on Section 65,” Chimunthu said.
Strong allegations reaching this blog emerging from the National Assembly reveal that the Speaker and the ruling People’s Party might have conspired against Section 65 of the Constitution just as he did with DPP.
According to these allegations, the Speaker refused to make a ruling yesterday after being informed that the Executive had not finalised on the processes required to obtain an injunction.
It is alleged that the Speaker was even frustrated by the delay by the PP to obtain the injunction. And when he realised that he would be cornered by the loathing DPP, he invoked Section 103 of Parliamentary Standing orders yesterday to throw MP for Mzimba Hora, Reverend Christopher Ngwira who wanted to stand on a point of order against the Speaker’s ruling.
It is not clear how the learned judges provided the Injunction because Section 5 of the Malawi Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, warns and invalidates such acts.
The Section reads: Any act of Government or any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be invalid”.
This is why other sections of the society have claimed that it is a constitutional coup to obtain an injunction on the Constitution, let alone Section 65.
On the Contrary, other members of the public claim that DPP has to swim on the wave it created because of its own greed when it was in government. The party failed to implement Section 65 when opposition members from MCP and UDF joined its ranks.
At that time, the Malawi Law Society was contemplating of suing the Speaker for allegedly conspiring with the DPP.
The injunction was then obtained by Yunus Mussa, MP for Zomba. The current injunction has been obtained by Deputy Education Minister Chikumbutso Hiwa on behalf of the 40 MPs who have moved from the now opposition DPP to PP. Ironically, Hiwa is a relative to DPP’s stout Member of Parliament George Chaponda.
It is not clear where money has exchanged hands, a practice commonly known as “kudyetsedwa chisikono” between those involved in this saga.