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Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sec 65 should await constitutional review—CCAP
12:43:51 - 26 July 2007

Speaker Louis Chimango should halt the implementation of Section 65 until the Constitutional Review Commission concludes its findings, the Church and Society Programme of the Blantyre CCAP Synod has said.

Programme manager Billy Mayaya said on Tuesday their position was that the application of Section 65 could not be pursued in the absence of the Recall Provision and the Senate, which were both scrapped off from the Constitution in 1994.

The Constitutional Review Commission is currently working on proposals from various stakeholders to have certain sections of the Republican Constitution amended or incorporated.

Some people have, among other proposals, suggested that the Recall Provision and the Senate be brought back in the constitution to empower the electorate who political observers say are powerless in the absence of these two provisions.

Opposition political parties in the country insist that the Speaker has to declare seats of those MPs deemed to have crossed the floor vacant before discussions on the 2007/2008 national budget get underway.

But Mayaya argued that Section 65 was supposed to be read together with Section 64 and, if need be, referred to the Senate, but since the two provisions were removed, he said, it did not make sense for the speaker to act on Section 65 in isolation.

Mayaya said while they agreed with the June 15, 2001 Supreme Court ruling which validated Section 65, it was unreasonable for MPs to be baying to declared each other’s seats vacant when the powers to recall MPs should be vested in the people in the constituencies.

“The mandate to recall MPs comes from the people and the mandate to govern is from the people as well. MPs would have removed each other if there were impeachment procedures as is the case with the president and judges,” he said.

In dealing to end the current impasse, Mayaya suggested that the executive should use diplomacy in dealing with the legislature and the judiciary, as these three arms of government were supposed to work in harmony and not in antagonism.

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