‘Parliament running out of time’

Parliament has only Monday next week to comply with the Constitutional Court order to give effect to the 50+1 system of electing a president or risk plunging the country into a constitutional crisis.

In an interview yesterday Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament chairperson Kezzie Msukwa said the House has two options; to resuscitate constitutional Amendment Bill that was shot down on Monday, and if it fails refer the matter back to the court as the final arbiter. 

Msukwa: The House has two options

Yesterday, opposition MPs tried to push for a second tabling of the proposed Bill to facilitate holding of fresh presidential elections but there were only seven Cabinet ministers and seven Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers present in the House for the afternoon extended sitting.

Proceedings were further dealt a blow following a blackout that eventually led to an adjournment.

Msukwa, who presented a report yesterday on consequences of rejecting the Constitutional amendment, said failing to hold fresh elections would create a constitutional crisis.

“The Constitution only provides for a five-year electoral mandate for a President and that such mandate cannot continue indefinitely,” said Msukwa, a Malawi Congress Party legislator for Chitipa East.

According to him, the solution to electoral or political disputes is the courts citing Section 10 of the Constitution which reads: “In the interpretation of all laws and in the resolution of political disputes, the provision of the Constitution shall be regarded as the supreme arbiter and ultimate source of authority.”  

Government benches however refused to respond to the statement as per tradition and only interjected through points of order.

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