President Joyce Banda’s recent remarks that the issue of section 65 remains in the hands of the Speaker of Malawi National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda has sent shock waves to more than forty Members of Parliament as they are gripped with fear on the uncertainty of their political future.
Briefing journalists recently at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre, after holding private talks with the British Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Henry Bellingham where UK government announced additional funding to Malawi of 25 million pounds in addition to 33 million pounds the UK Government has already supported Malawi bringing the total UK support to 58million since April this year, the Malawi leader, touched on the thorny issue of Section 65 saying the speaker of the national assembly can make a decision.
The recent 43 Session of Parliamentary Session goes into the annuals of history for being one of the most controversial sessions where the issue of Section 65 took a central stage.
Few days before the house was suspended Speaker of National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda announced that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) withdraw of the first petition the party had written to the speaker requesting him to declare seats of the Members of Parliament who trekked to People’s Party (PP) and were deemed to have crossed the floor.
According to the records of the house, the withdraw of the petition came as the result of speakers ruling that the DPP had no enough evidence to substantiate their claim for him (speaker) to deal with the members accused of crossing the floor.
Section 65 took a new twist on June 27, 2012 when DPP issued fresh petition to all individuals. However, the issue was challenged again with a court injunction.
Now that onus is in the hands of the speaker again, according to what the president has told the nation. The most frequent question asked in social cycles is, If the speaker of Malawi National Assembly is to pronounce his judgment on Section 65, will government through attorney general vacate the second injunction?
Evaluating the 100 days of Joyce Banda, local political commentators and civil society organization say that the issue of Section 65 remains a dent in 100 days her presidency as far as governance issues are concerned.
Below is an extract of a copy of a letter from DPP written to Hon Steven Stafford Kamwendo written on June 27, 2012 accusing him of crossing the floor.
Dear Hon. Steven Stafford Kamwendo,
I am pleased to attach herewith a copy of the letter provided to the
Rt. Hon. Speaker Chimunthu Banda M.P, containing evidence on the
allegation levelled against.
We wish to bring to the attention of both you and that of the speaker
these undeniable facts that: during the 2009 General Elections you
were elected on the DPP ticket together with several other persons. On
or about 6th April 2012, the then President of Malawi who was also the
President of DPP died. Consequently, the then vice President who had
formed her own political party PP ascended to the Presidency of
Furthermore, we provide below evidence against you being affected by
Section 65 as follows:
1. In view of the above background the DPP Members of Parliament moved
to the opposition in the National Assembly but you asked the Rt. Hon.
Speaker of the National Assembly and the PP Leadership to allocate you
a seat on the government side. This can be proved by your seat in
Parliament at present.
2. You have voluntarily ceased to be a member of the Democratic
3. You have been seen both in and outside Parliament dressed on PP’s
regalia ie PP badges, Scarf, Caps
4. You have addressed meetings in your Constituency and informed both
your constituents and DPP committees that you are now a PP Member