Former governing People’s Party (PP) has resolved to write Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya to declare vacant seats for Malani Mtonga (Karonga South) and Harry Mkandawire (Mzimba West).
PP’s deputy publicity secretary Ackson Kalaile Banda said Thursday that they want the two to face the wrath of Section 65 of the Constitution which calls on the Speaker to declare vacant a seat of any member of the National Assembly who crosses the floor.
The law mandates the Speaker to declare vacant a seat of any member of the National Assembly who was, at the time of his or her election, a member of one political party represented in the House, but who has voluntarily ceased to be a member of that party or has joined another political party represented in the National Assembly, or has joined any other political party, or association or organisation whose objectives or activities are political in nature.
While Mtonga was recently welcomed into the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) at a rally at Hara in his constituency, Mkandawire joined the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) where he has expressed interest to contest for the position of second deputy president during its convention.
Kalaile Banda said the two have publicly joined other parties, ditching the PP under whose banner they were elected MPs; hence, the decision to have their seats declared vacant.
“The two have gone public to declare that they have left PP, a party which helped them get to Parliament. You know the law is very clear on this; that is why we will be writing the Speaker to declare their seats vacant.
“We are just waiting for Parliament to start for the 2018/2019 budget sitting and we will communicate this to the Speaker,” he said.
Mtonga could not be reached for comment, but Mkandawire said PP had no basis to invoke Section 65 on him because the party expelled him.
“While the party has the freedom to do that, I find it surprising because PP expelled me, and, therefore, I don’t see a reason why they want to declare my seat vacant.
“Anyway, let them do that, we will go to court and let the courts decide on the matter. But I don’t see why PP wants to do that after expelling me,” he said.
However, Kalaile Banda said PP never expelled Mkandawire, but that the legislator decided to leave on his own.
“Mkandawire resigned as PP vice-president [North],” he said.