United Party for National Development (UPND) Secretary General Stephen Katuka says it is unconstitutional for the National Assembly to vote on extending the Threatened State of Public Emergency in the absence of the opposition party’s members of parliament.

In originating summons filed in the Constitutional Court today, Katuka cited the Attorney General and Speaker as respondents.

“That I also verily believe that the decision by the Speaker of the National Assembly to convene National Assembly as aforesaid on the 11th July 2017 was an ill-conceived chicanery scheme calculated to disenfranchise the said UPND members of parliament and their respective constituencies from participating in matters of national importance such as the approval of the precursor for a State of Emergency,” Katuka stated.

“That by reason of the foregoing I have filed an Originating Summons to call for the interpretation of Article 31 2) of the Constitution of Zambia and impugn the decision of the Speaker and or National Assembly to approve the declaration mentioned in paragraph three.”

Katuka wants the ConCourt to interpret whether the use of the words “by the majority of all members thereof” in Article 31 is so ambiguous, vague or absurd that it warrants for departing from the Liberal and Purposive rules of Interpretation and whether or not the Speaker can convene National Assembly in the absence of 46 suspended MPs.

Katuka also wants the ConCourt to interpret whether the remaining members of the House who comprise mostly of PF MPs can vote to extend the Threatened State of Public Emergency.

“If not, whether this is not a suitable matter for the ConCourt to quash any decision, action or measure whatsoever by the Speaker of the National Assembly to approve by a resolution, the proclamation by the President of the Republic of Zambia as promulgated in Gazette Notice No. 448 of 2017 under Statutory Instrument number 53 of 2017 on the 5th July 2017 and declare that such was unconstitutional for being done in contravention of Article 31(2) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No 2 of 2017. Further, or other relief the court may deem fit or necessary,” stated Katuka.