Law Association of Zambia president Eddie Mwitwa has asked the Constitutional Court to restrain the National Assembly from continuing with the legislative process to enact the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill No.10 into law, pending determination of the petition.
Mwitwa says unless temporarily restrained by the court, the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill No. 10 will be enacted it into law, thereby defeating the entire process of their petition and rendering the proceedings an academic exercise.
This is the matter in which LAZ has dragged President Edgar Lungu, the Attorney General and the National Assembly to the Constitutional Court for attempting to alter the Constitution of Zambia through Bill 10, 2019.
LAZ has petitioned the court, seeking a declaration that the respondents’ decision to the extent to which it seeks to amend the Constitution in the manner set in the Constitution (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, is illegal because it contravenes Articles 1(2), 8, 9, 61, 79, 90,91, 92 and 79 of the Constitution.
It’s further seeking an Order (of Certiorari) that the Petition be allowed and that Bill 10, which evidences the Respondents’ decision to amend the Constitution in the manner provided therein, be removed forthwith into the Constitutional Court for purposes of quashing.
But the Attorney General had asked the Constitutional Court to dismiss the petition saying the Court’s jurisdiction does not extend to hearing a petition on an allegation that a Bill, which is proposed law, contravenes the Constitution.
In an affidavit in support of Ex-parte summons for an interim injuction filed yesterday, Mwitwa stated that unless restrained by the court, the respondents would continue with the legislation of the Bill.
“I have no doubt in my mind that unless temporarily restrained by the court, until the constitutionality the respondents’ decision, the subject of this petition, has been examined and a decision made by this court, the respondents will continue with the legislative process and enact the said Bill into law thereby defeating the whole purpose of these proceedings and as such rendering them academic,” he stated.
Mwitwa stated that when LAZ asked the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini not to proceed with the consideration of Bill 10 while the matter was pending before Court, the Speaker responded through the Clerk of the National Assembly, saying he was unable to make the said undertaking as the National Assembly enjoyed exclusive and unfettered jurisdiction on the conduct of its internal proceeding.
He stated that it was further submitted that the Speaker had elected to exercise his discretion to allow the consideration of Bill 10 by the Select Committee and eventually by the National Assembly.
The LAZ president further stated that the National Assembly wrote to the association, asking it to submit a detailed memorandum on the ramifications of Bill 10 to the Select Committee of the National Assembly by August 23 and attend the said committee on September 17, to discuss the content of the memorandum.
He explained that he responded to the said letter, stating that LAZ would not submit the said memorandum nor attend the Select Committee on the appointed dates because the issues of the ramifications of Bill 10, was the subject of adjudication before the Constitutional Court.
Meanwhile, Constitutional Court Judge Annie Sitali has set September 17, this year, as date for a compliance conference and September 30, for hearing of Attorney General Likando Kalaluka’s notice of motion to raise preliminary points of law to dismiss the petition.
Justice Sitali has further directed LAZ to file skeleton arguments in opposition to the preliminary issues raised by the Attorney General on or before September 11.