Congoma has challenged MPs deemed to have crossed the floor in Parliament by joining the ruling Peopleâ€™s Party (PP) to let the Speaker apply Section 65 of the Constitution.
In an interview on Wednesday, Council for Non-governmental Organisations in Malawi (Congoma) chairperson Voice Mhone argued that since the legislators claim to have consulted their constituents to join PP, it will be up to the same constituents to give the MPs a fresh mandate through by-elections.
But, in another interview, Leader of the House Henry Phoya said it would be wrong to make conclusions on Section 65 as there are procedures to be followed before the Speaker declares a parliamentary seat vacant.
Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda last week wrote 45 MPs, who have declared themselves PP members to defend themselves against a petition from the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that seeks to have the parliamentariansâ€™ seats declared vacant.
Phoya said Section 65 is a legal issue which is bound to end up in court; hence, it would not be appropriate for him to argue the case in the media.
During the 2004 to 2009 Parliament lifespan, DPP found itself in the same situation when the United Democratic Front (UDF) and other parties wanted its MPs expelled for flouting Section 65. This was after the then president Bingu wa Mutharika ditched UDF, a party that sponsored his presidency, to form DPP, a development that saw UDF MPs and some from other parties follow him to form government. However, the section was not applied as there were court orders restraining the Speaker from enforcing the same.
This time around, most MPs who have received letters from the Speaker said they are confident of whatever they are doing; hence, played down the issue.
One of the MPs in an interview said soon after receiving the letters, some of them contemplated going to court to challenge the petition before being assured by PP and the government side that the petition will be challenged within Parliament before any legal action is taken.
But Phoya on Wednesday said he was not aware of any assurance or advice given to the concerned MPs.
In an earlier interview, Phoya had said government will fully support the concerned MPs.
In the letters, Chimunthu Banda said he was expecting to be given a response within seven days before he can make a decision. The concerned MPs received the letters on Friday, June 8 2012, and have up to Tuesday next week to respond.