Yesterday, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) expelled Mwaza Central Member of Parliament Nicholas Dausi. Legal-political commentator Lord Denning has described the DPP’s attempt to fire Dausi as a member of Parliament as misguided and outright illegal. Below is the text of the analysis from Lord Denning reproduced in full.
The DPP statement, said to be representing the decision of the party’s Executive Committee after receiving recommendations from the party’s Disciplinary Committee reads as follows: “Hon. Dausi ceases to be the Party’s Member of Parliament”.
From where I am standing, the statement seems to desire to remove the said Hon. Dausi as a Member of Parliament. Thus this statement, or rather decision, is rather too ambitious and mischievous as it fundamentally lacks legal effect to the extent that it purports to extinguish the status of the said Hon. Dausi as Member of Parliament representing a Mwanza (Central?).
As a political party, the DPP does not have the power to remove any of its members from the Parliament. What DPP has is the power to remove any of its members from the party [on reasonable grounds ofcoz]. But I am aware that the same statement may mean to say that while going about his business as a Member of Parliament, the said Dausi must stop recognizing himself as belonging to DPP. Fair suggestion, but the mischief is in presenting it in a manner that suggests that he is no longer a Member of Parliament.
A further outlook informs me that the DPP decision, as communicated, is aimed at testing the gun in the sense that the calculation could have been that when he is removed as a member of the DPP (and proceeding to include the status of Member of Parliament), then Dausi will have to cross the floor in Parliament in terms of sitting plan. Once he crosses the floor as such, perhaps migrating to another political party, which I suspect the DPP already thinks he already has, then section 65 of the Constitution will have to be invoked.
The said section 65 reads as follows: “The Speaker shall declare vacant the seat of any member of the National Assembly who was, at the time of his or her election, a member of one political party represented in the National Assembly, other than by that member alone but who has voluntarily ceased to be a member of that party or has joined another political party represented in the National Assembly, or association or organization whose objectives or activities are political in nature”.
If the thinking of the DPP Executive Committee or the Disciplinary Committee was actually along that wave of intending to invoke section 65, I am quick to say that such a calculation was with huge error and will not even begin to apply. To begin with, the said Dausi has not voluntarily ceased to be a member of DPP. He has been fired or dismissed, therefore the first qualifier of relying on section 65 has fallen off. Further, the said Dausi has an option of sitting on the Independent Opposition benches, which will make no difference anyway since the said DPP is also sitting on the same opposition’s left side.
Thus the statement, as included in the purported dismissal notice of the said Honourable Dausi really counts to nothing and should not have been there in the first place as it does not vitiate his status as Member of Parliament.