The High Court in Blantyre has set October 29 to hear an application from rights activist Billy Mayaya who wants to join a case in which Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya is accused of crossing the floor in relation to Section 65 of the Constitution.
The Forum for National Development (FND) dragged Msowoya to court, seeking an interlocutory injunction to restrain him from executing his duties as Speaker.
In Civil Case number 223 of 2018 filed before Justice Michael Tembo, FND also wants the second defendant, the Office of the Speaker of the Malawi National Assembly, to stop according Msowoya any rights and privileges accorded to his position.
In an application dated August 27 2018 through lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa, activist Mayaya argues that FND cannot tamper with the internal procedures already in place to deal with the issues of crossing the floor after resigning from the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) on June 29 2018, Msowoya announced through his Facebook page that he had joined the United Transformation Movement (UTM) which is led by Vice-President Saulos Chilima on July 20 2018.
However, the FND, led by national coordinator Fryson Chodzi on July 24 2018, held a press conference in Lilongwe where he claimed that by joining UTM—a political grouping pushing for Chilima’s candidacy in the May 21 2019 presidential race—Msowoya crossed the floor and violated Section 65 of the Constitution.
In a sworn statement, Mayaya argues that he should be added as amicus curie [friend of the court] so that he can contribute to the discourse which will raise serious constitutional analysis.
“My position in the present matter is that the Claimant herein cannot tamper with the internal procedures already in place to deal with the issues of crossing the floor.”
“My opinion on the matter is that Parliament is self-regulated with Parliamentary Procedures which, if enforced, would lead to enforcement and compliance of rules that regulate its members including application of Section 65 of the Constitution,” he argues.
Mayaya further argues that his joining of the case would add wealth of research on the subject matter to help the court reach a just and fair conclusion.
Meanwhile, the High Court in Blantyre has set October 29 to hear Mayaya’s application, His lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa has confirmed.
“This is the case where Speaker is being dragged to court so that he stops working as one because he has allegedly crossed the floor. Now, Billy Mayaya wants to be added as a friend of the court and on 29th our application to add Billy Mayaya will be heard,” said Mwafulirwa.
Since the law came into force, it is only in 1995, when Speaker of the National Assembly declared vacant the seat for Mwanza North legislator, Fred Nseula.
Nseula, elected to Parliament in 1994 on a United Democratic Front (UDF) ticket, was alleged to have joined the opposition MCP after he was relieved of his position as Deputy Minister of Finance.