Some Lusaka residents who are seeking Judicial Review over the Speaker’s decision to entertain the impeachment motion have asked the Lusaka High Court not to entertain the request for joinder filed by the movers of the motion saying it is misplaced.
In this matter, Robert Chabinga and Henry Mulenga, who are being represented by Hobday Kabwe and Company, Lewis Mosho of Lewis Nathan Advocates and Kanja Mpundu of Palan and George Advocates, have challenged the Speaker’s decision to entertain the impeachment motion in the Lusaka High Court, arguing that it is unreasonable, procedurally improper and illegal.
Judge Bobo Banda granted the applicants leave to apply for judicial review on April 4, which is acting as a stay of the decision of the Speaker of the National Assembly to table the motion to impeach President Edgar Lungu.
The applicants argued that the impeachment motion dealt with grounds which were still determined in the courts of law and was therefore sub judice.
Movers of the motion; UPND Whip Gary Nkombo and Roan rebel PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili asked to join the case on grounds that any decision which would be arrived at would affect them.
However, when the case came up, Monday, the applicants argued that the joinders’ application had not demonstrated sufficient interest and was anchored on the wrong provision of the law.
And in the skeleton arguments in reply filed in the Lusaka High Court, May 7, the applicants argued that in order for a party to be joined in a matter, they needed to demonstrate that they were entitled to or they were likely to be affected by the result.
“Order 14 Rule 5 of the High Court Rules, Cap 27 of the laws of Zambia is the primary authority pursuant to which any person may be joined to proceedings before Court in any ordinary matter, not including Judicial Review proceedings. In order for a party to be joined, they must demonstrate that they are entitled to, or claim some share or interest in, the subject matter of the suit, or they are likely to be affected by the result. The mere fact that a party may be affected by the decision of the court does not clothe them with sufficient interest or locus standi entitling them to be joined in the dispute,” they stated.
The applicants stated that the proceedings did not in any way touch on the parliamentary debates or the motion presented by the joinders, but rather on the decision of the Speaker in the exercise of his constitutional powers.
“The question as to whether the applicants are entitled to be joined as parties can only be answered by reviewing the evidence, which they have adduced before this court to demonstrate that they have sufficient interest to entitle them to be joined as parties to these proceedings. We submit that the first and second intended joinders have no interest in the subject matter of the action, which concerns the exercise by the Speaker of the National Assembly of his powers as Honourable Mr Speaker,” they stated.
“The proceedings do not in any way touch on the parliamentary debates or the motion presented by the intended joinders but rather on the decision of the Honourable Speaker in the exercise of his constitutional powers. The mere fact that the first and second intended joinders may be affected by the decision of this court does not clothe them with sufficient interest entitling them to joined to the proceedings. The intended joinders have no interest in this matter before court whatsoever as it merely concerns the challenge of the decision of the Speaker and of which public nature and interest for which the Attorney has an interest and can defend as authorised by the law.”
The applicants further argued that Kambwili and Nkombo’s joinder application was anchored on a wrong provision of the law.
They submitted that the error on the part of the intended joinders was fatal, serious and as such should be dismissed with costs.
“The first and second intended joinders’ have purported to move this Honourable Court pursuant to a non-existent rule. We have perused the High Court Rules and have not found any Order 15 rule five. In the premises, there is no application by the intended joinders and this Honourable Court has no jurisdiction to hear the intended joinders’ application as the application is unattainable at law. We submit that it is a requirement of the law that parties must strictly comply with the rules of procedure and if they fail to do so, they do so at their own peril,” stated the applicants.