The Constitutional Court has ruled that President Edgar Lungu and the National Assembly were improperly joined to the proceedings in which the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) is challenging Constitutional (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019.
The ConCourt has therefore ordered that they be removed from the proceedings and that the main matter be heard on October 29, this year.
Constitutional Court Judge Enock Mulembe, who delivered the ruling on behalf of other judges, said according to Article 177(5)(c), the best person to represent government or institutions that have no capacity to sue and be sued, is the Attorney General in his capacity as Chief legal advisor of government.
In this matter, LAZ had dragged President Lungu, the Attorney General and the National Assembly to the Constitutional Court for attempting to alter the Constitution of Zambia through Constitution (Amendment) Bill No 10 of 2019, which passed first reading in Parliament.
Attorney General Likando Kalaluka had earlier asked the court to misjoin the President and the National Assembly saying the court had on several occasions pronounced itself that when State institutions were being challenged, the Attorney General was the right person to sue.
He said if the President and the National Assembly were misjoined, LAZ would not suffer any prejudice.
But LAZ argued through its lawyer John Sangwa that the President was not the government and neither was the National Assembly.
He insisted that the three respondents violated the Constitution, and it was incumbent upon each one of them to appear before court and answer for their actions.
But delivering a ruling on behalf of seven judges of the court, Justice Mulembe said that it was the court’s view that the acts complained of by the LAZ related to the performance of the respondents’s official mandate.
He said the argument by LAZ that the President was not government neither was the National Assembly, was not tenable at law.
Justice Mulembe said the President and the National Assembly were part of the three arms of government and therefore the proper party to represent them was the Attorney General.
“We disagree with the contention by the petitioner that the President and the National Assembly are not the government. There are three arms of government and in this case the President is the head of the Executive, and the National Assembly is the legislature. They being arms of government, we find that they were improperly joined to these proceedings and therefore we order that the two be misjoined,” said Justice Mulembe.
The court, however, ordered each party to bear their own cost for the application and further ordered that the main petition be heard on October 29.