Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) have said they will stand strong on Section 65 of the Constitution to ensure that it is implemented to prevent their Members of Parliament (MPs) from crossing the floor.
This follows fears that some MPs from their parties may switch sides and join the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which got 50 MPs in the May 20 Tripartite Elections. MCP has 48 while UDF has 14 parliamentarians.
Section 65 says the Speaker shall declare vacant a seat of an MP who was, at the time of his or her election, a member of one political party represented in the National Assembly, other than by that member alone, but who has voluntarily ceased to be a member of that party and has joined another political party represented in the National Assembly.
MCP spokesperson Jessie Kabwila told Nation on Sunday that the party is solid on Section 65 so that no MP should leave the MCP side for the ruling DPP or any other party in Parliament.
Kabwila said: “MCP is very solid about Section 65. We are serious about it. MCP is the ‘Section 65 party’ because it does not tolerate greedy politics of moving from one party to another.”
She said the party is ready to support implementation of the section.
UDF spokesperson Ken Ndanga said the party is also ready to use the section to punish MPs who cross the floor.
“The Republican Constitution is the supreme law of the land; hence, we will respect it. UDF is the party that believes in constitutionalism. Our party will defend the Constitution by pushing for implementation of Section 65,” said Ndanga.
Former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika of DPP struggled in his first term, especially in 2007, when MCP insisted on implementation of Section 65 in Parliament following the crossing of floor by some MCP MPs to DPP. n