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Sunday, January 08, 2006

MP wants to withdraw impeachment motion
by Gedion Munthali, 07 January 2006 - 03:50:01
Mangochi Malombe MP Maxwell Milanzi (UDF) is said to have expressed an intention to withdraw his notice of motion to indict and impeach President Bingu wa Mutharika this week.
A Parliamentary source said Milanzi phoned the secretariat on Tuesday, saying he wanted to withdraw his notice of motion but was advised to put his wish in writing.
“He phoned the Deputy Clerk of Parliament here, saying he wants to withdraw the motion and was asking for advice on how to go about it,” said the source who is a senior official at Parliament.
Milanzi, according to the source, did not give reasons for wanting the motion withdrawn.
When contacted, Deputy Clerk of Parliament Stanislaus Chisanu said he had no knowledge of the issue.
“We have not received anything,” said Chisanu. “We have also not sent Hon Milanzi anything.”
Milanzi, himself, said he could not comment until Parliament meets.
“I will not say anything,” said Milanzi. “I do not want to say anything on the issue. There is no sitting of Parliament so I cannot say anything. Wait until there is a sitting.”
Parliamentary staff spent part of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday consulting and seeking legal opinions on how such a notice, already served on Mutharika, could be withdrawn, said the source.
The reported U-turn comes soon after Milanzi had been ditched by his lawyer in a case where he is accused of contesting for a parliamentary seat before the expiry of seven years from the time he was allegedly convicted for misappropriation of funds at Sedom.
An executive member of UDF indicated on Thursday that Milanzi was frustrated because the party was refusing to pay legal fees for his case.
“He feels betrayed after being asked by the party to move the motion, and being promised support if he did it,” said the executive member
UDF spokesperson Sam Mpasu said his party was not aware of Milanzi’s move.
“That is news. However, he can only withdrawal the motion by moving another motion in the House. We will see what happens,” said Mpasu who served as Speaker from 1999 to April 2003.
But a senior parliamentary official said Friday Milanzi does not need to move another motion because his motion to indict and impeach President Mutharika was not moved in the first place.
“The motion to indict and impeach was not moved,” said the official on condition that his name is not mentioned. “What we have on record is a notice of that motion. Honourable Richard Msowoya obtained a court injunction against the motion being moved until the impeachment procedures were looked at. The process is at that stage.”
Milanzi filed the notice of motion on revised grounds for indicting and impeaching Mutharika late last year just hours after the House passed the impeachment procedures.
He filed the first notice of motion in July on 11 grounds, which were later modified to accommodate new developments in the intervening period. Recent media reports said the grounds have now been condensed to eight.

-story by The Nation

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