A Kabangwe resident, who petitioned the Constitutional Court to declare the seats of 53 UPND members of parliament vacant for shunning President Edgar Lungu’s address to Parliament two years ago, has withdrawn his suit against 10 lawmakers.
Richard Mumba, a private citizen, filed an amended petition in the Constitutional Court, Wednesday, leaving the number of sued parliamentarians to 43.
Among the 10 are: Monze Central member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu; Solwezi West member of parliament Teddy Kansonso; Namwala member of parliament Moono Lubezhi; Kabompo member of parliament Ambrose Lufuma; Mbabala member of parliament Ephraim Belemu and Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Garry Nkombo, among others.
Previously, Mumba had petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking a declaration that the seats of 53 UPND members of parliament be declared vacant for boycotting President Lungu’s national address to the National Assembly.
But now, Mumba wants the Court to determine whether the 43 members of parliament breached the oath of allegiance to the President when they did not attend the National Assembly on March 17, 2017.
He is further seeking a declaration that the members of parliament are bound by the Constitution to attend the National Assembly and be addressed by the President whenever he attends and addresses the House.
Mumba is seeking a declaration that the offices of the 43 members of parliament have become vacant by virtue of acting, contrary to the prescribed code of conduct for members of parliament as public officers.
He also wants a declaration and order that the 43 members of parliament are not eligible to re-contest their seats once declared vacant.
Earlier, the 43 members of parliament asked the Court to allow them subpoena witnesses in the matter.
The defendants requested the Court to give them guidance on when they should make an application to subpoena the witnesses.
In its ruling, the Court said that the defendants would be allowed to subpoena witnesses when all parties file the record of proceedings and the skeleton arguments.
Constitutional Court Judge Enock Mulembe advised the petitioner, Mumba, to file his skeleton arguments by March 5, 2019, and allow for a status conference on March 7 in which the defendants may respond on March 19.
After the filing of skeleton arguments, the court would then hear the case on March 26.