Speakerof the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda is Friday expected to deliver another ruling on the Section 65 saga after opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) swiftly submitted evidence of MPs who had crossed the floor to him.
Senior cabinet ministers namely Sidik Mia, John Bande, Reene Kachere and Peter Mwanza, may face the chop if Chimunthu Banda rules in favour of DPP.
The speaker in the morning had ruled that he could not declare vacant over 40 seats of MPs who dumped the DPP for the People's Party (PP) because a petition by party lacked evidence.
However in the afternoon, the speaker told the house that he would deliver another ruling on the matter today after the DPP had submitted the evidence.
"After the ruling by the chair in the morning on Section 65, the DPP has written another letter and the chair will make a ruling tomorrow morning," Chimunthu Banda said.
DPP Publicity Secretary Nicholas Dausi confirmed the development, saying the party has provided the evidence the speaker had demanded.
"We indeed have submitted the evidence to the speaker. What we have done is to remind the speaker by writing to him on the evidence he himself gave out in the house. We have obtained his house communications which were recorded in the hansard of 24th May where he named the MPs who have crossed the floor.
"He mentioned the names of MPs who were DPP and were then ceasing to be DPP and joining PP. That is enough (evidence) to us. But whether we are optimistic or not, let's wait and see how things will turn out tomorrow," Dausi said.
In the morning, DPP threatened to drag the speaker to the High Court after they were frustrated with his ruling.
Reacting to the developments at Parliament, Malawi Law Society president John Gift Mwakhwawa said in an interview Thursday that while the speaker must still apply section 65 on the matter, the speaker was right to refrain from punishing MPs without evidence as sitting on the government benches alone may not be evidence of crossing the floor.
"It must be applied based on evidence. If he (the speaker) did not have evidence, he would not proceed. You don't punish people without evidence of wrong doing. That is the right way to go," he said.
But the DPP spokesperson said his party has "a moral high ground' on the argument because there is a legal precedence set by the High Court in 2006 on the interpretation of Section 65 of the Constitution.
The development in Parliament was not without drama as in the morning Chimunthu Banda was forced to invoke Standing Order 103 to send out DPP Mzimba Hora MP Christopher Ngwira, who burst out at the speaker accusing him of making an empty statement in a clear case where the law had been flouted.
"Ijust said that his statement was empty. He didn't say anything substantial. It is clear that the MPs we are talking about crossing the floor," said Ngwira in an interview.
Unlike the normal practice in Parliament, when the procession of the Speaker made entry into Parliament Thursday morning, the government side erupted into welcome chants and handclapping.
The opposition DPP meanwhile punctuated the scenario with accusations that "Ndalama ikalankhula, chilungamo chimathawa (When money speaks, justice is denied)".
After the speaker's morning ruling, DPP MPs reacted angrily by trooping out of the chamber led by their acting party leader Peter Mutharika.
Meanwhile, Chaponda Thursday told the media that he suspected something fishy had happened between the speaker and the government side as legislators on the government benches were seemingly aware of the decision even before it was announced.
The party has vowed to fight hard to ensure the law is applied and hinted it might go to the courts to seek redress if the speaker does not give a ruling in their favour.
Section 65 has polarized the house with raging debate over the morality of the DPP in pursuing the matter as it relentlessly fought against its implementation when it was in government between 2005 and 2009.