Section 65 clear - Attorney General's Office
Malawi’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General (AG) Ralph Kasambara has said Section 65 of the Constitution is clear and government has no interest to block its implementation.
Kasambara, who is government’s chief legal adviser, said in an interview on Thursday an impression has been created that the People’s Party (PP) administration is blocking implementation of the constitutional provision.
In recent weeks, some political analysts and opposition parties, including the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), have accused the Joyce Banda administration of breaching the Constitution when she said she was not ready to find over about K4 billion to finance by-elections if the Speaker of Parliament declared vacant seats of 41 MPs accused of crossing the floor after they joined Banda’s PP following the shift of power in April due to president Bingu wa Mutharika’s death.
Britain’s House of Commons International Development Committee, which hailed Banda for some positive strides after ascending to power on April 7 2012, also faulted her on not enforcing Section 65.
But Kasambara, while admitting the controversial constitutional provision is clear, said it has never been the wish of the Executive to thwart its implementation.
President Banda changed her tune when she hosted a United Kingdom delegation at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre on July 16. She said declaring vacant seats of MPs who cross the floor is within the domain of the Speaker.
DPP managed to frustrate implementation of Section 65 between 2005 and 2009 after former United Democratic Front (UDF) MPs that crossed the floor obtained a court injunction and the matter never saw light of the day.