n Malawi Law Journal - The concept of crossing the floor under Malawian constitutional law

Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1996-7675



This article examines the evolution of the concept of crossing the floor in Malawi from 1964 to date. The gist of this concept is that members of the National Assembly should retain the status they professed at the time of elections throughout their tenure in the National Assembly. They cannot change sides in the National Assembly without seeking a fresh mandate. The original terms of section 65(1) of the 1994 Constitution were in line with this generally accepted meaning of this concept. Crossing the floor was limited to movement by members within the National Assembly. However, the Constitutional Amendment of 2001 extended the concept to political activities by the members pursued outside the National Assembly. This is rather bizarre and arguably constricts the freedom of association and freedom of conscience of the members of the National Assembly. This amendment is unconstitutional and the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal erred in refusing to declare it so in the .

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