Pac, Speaker tackle Sec 65

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Public Affairs Committee (PAC) on Friday engaged Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda to inquire what is impeding him from invoking Section 65 of the Constitution on legislators who have crossed the floor.

Auxiliary Bishop Montfort Sitima led the delegation which met the Speaker alongside Pac board members, to implement one of the resolutions of the Second All- Inclusive Stakeholders Conference which took place in October last year.

Chimunthu Banda agreed that specifically, the gist of the meeting was to brief Pac on the challenges faced by his office to implement Section 65 as well as on the harmonisation of electoral laws paving way for the tripartite elections.

“I informed them that the Speaker has not provided any ruling on this [Section 65] matter due to injunctions which stopped processing of petitions,” he said.

He said as they stand now Section 65 matters are in courts and, as such, there is nothing they can do until the court processes are over.

“That upon conclusion of court processes the matter will come back to Parliament and, at that stage; the Speaker will provide a ruling,” said Chimunthu Banda.

Bishop Sitima, who also spoke in an interview after the meeting, said it was Pac’s role as a representative of the people to advocate for adherence to the rule of law and constitutionalism.

The Pac delegation demanded to know why the Speaker failed to act on MPs who blatantly crossed the floor following the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika.

He said as ordinary Malawians they could not push Parliament because only the Speaker and his secretariat had the solutions.

“We are here to communicate what people at the conference wanted us to do. But only Parliament has the solution to Section 65, we can just remind them on the need to uphold the rule of law and apply it accordingly,” Sitima said.

The Pac delegation told the Speaker that Malawians regarded his failure to implement Section 65 as the President Joyce Banda administration’s deliberate disregard for the Constitution despite the technical excuses that have been given at Parliament.

Sitima touted the meeting with the Speaker a success because he enlightened them on Parliamentary processes especially on Section 65.

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