Some Blantyre Malabada traditional leaders have asked their Member of Parliament Aaron Sangala to resign for allegedly abusing the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), claiming this has retarded development in the area.
In a seven-point petition, the constituents claim that under Sangala, sectors such as education and security are overlooked in the area. The chiefs further accuse Sangala of disrespecting them.
The constituents were on Monday expected to march to the offices of the district commissioner (DC) for Blantyre to present the petition.
But village head Somanje-Makata, who is among the protesters, said in an interview Monday that he was overwhelmed by the turn-up of his subjects in the morning and suggested that the march be cancelled because it would be difficult to manage the crowd.
Instead, the traditional leaders, who also include village heads George Muloyi and Che Jine, were invited to a discussion by Blantyre DC Charles Makanga. Somanje-Makata, according to the DC who confirmed the indaba, did not attend the meeting. He reportedly went to Salima for prayers.
Makanga said the matter has been referred back to T/A Kapeni for further consultations among traditional leaders.
The DC said it transpired during the afternoon meeting that the matter needs further consultation because other chiefs such as Muloyi and Che Jine were not signatories to the petition.
Sangala last evening could not comment on the allegations levelled against him, saying he was attending a parliamentary committee meeting in Lilongwe, but disclosed that he reported the matter to T/A Kapeni.
“I got wind about it and I immediately reported the matter to T/A Kapeni. But I cannot comment on the allegations because I have not seen the petition itself,” said Sangala, who is serving his second term as MP for the area.
In the petition, the constituents also allege that Sangala blocks development initiatives including the effectiveness of a Water Usersâ€™ Association.
The traditional leaders claim that about 200 people were employed by the association, but Sangala blocked them from working.
The MP is also being accused of not consulting the chiefs on the development fund.
But Kapeni said his juniors rushed to write the petition before consultations were held with him.
“They were in a hurry. They did not hear his [MPâ€™s] side of the story either. So, I am meeting them to map the way forward,” said Kapeni.
The constituentsâ€™ call on Sangala to resign may likely hit a snag because the law, Section 64 of the Constitution, which backed them to recall their MP was scraped off by legislators.
The law said a member of the National Assembly was subject to recall by his or her constituency where a petition has been upheld by the Electoral Commission.
Through the provision, it was incumbent upon the petitioners to prove on the balance of probabilities, that there was sufficient proportion of the electorate within that constituency, being not less than half of the total of registered voters, who desire that the seat representing that constituency should be contested in a by-election.
Moses Mkandawire, director for the Church and Society Programme of the Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP, said in the absence of the law that empowers constituents to recall their MP, the Blantyre Malabada case would be difficult to implement.
“There is no law that empowers the citizens to recall an MP. It will be a challenge. You have to wait for five years to recall your MP, that is the only opportunity to the electorate,” said Mkandawire.
MP Sangala has served Blantyre Malabada for two terms.