Youth activists in the northern Malawi city of Mzuzu petitioned Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda to act on Section 65 of the Constitution or quit.
The petition, signed by Charles Kajoloweka and Tega Mwaruasa, and delivered to Mzuzu City Council, accuses the Speaker of failing to uphold democracy by failing to rule on Members of Parliament who crossed the floor. The Speaker failed to apply the law, citing lack of evidence.
But the Speaker said it is unfortunate that the youth are petitioning him to act on a matter pending in court.
According to the two activists, the Supreme Court already interpreted the validity of the section when it was raised during the time of the late president Bingu wa Mutharika; hence, by failing to act earlier on, Chimunthu Banda showed his inability to act independently.
“You have demonstrated abject dishonesty and an abdication of authority and office. Your conduct over Section 65 is not only a betrayal of national trust, integrity and conscience, but also a restraint in achieving the countryâ€™s enviable democracy and development,” reads the petition.
It also attacks President Joyce Banda for not showing interest in the implementation of Section 65 despite her government starting on a good note of upholding democracy. The petition accuses her of shielding the Speaker by saying it is up to him to act.
On Monday this week, the President said it is up to the Speaker to implement Section 65.
She made the U-turn after a barrage of criticism when she said government may not be ready to find an estimated K4 billion (about $16 million) to finance by-elections if the Speaker declared vacant seats of 41 legislators accused to have crossed the floor.