Chapter One Foundation Limited has submitted before the Constitutional Court that it shall prove at the hearing of its petition that the proposed amendments to the Constitution are uncharacteristic of a democratic society.
In this matter, the Law Association of Zambia and Chapter One Foundation Limited are challenging government’s decision to alter the Constitution of Zambia through (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019.
They have cited the Attorney General as respondent in the matter.
Chapter One Foundation Limited is seeking an order that Minister of Justice Given Lubinda withdraws Bill 10 from the National Assembly, saying the process of its enactment and the proposals do not comply with national values, principals and provisions of the Constitution.
But in the answer to the petition, Attorney General Likando Kalaluka submitted that granting an order prayed for by Chapter One Foundation to withdraw Constitutional (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, will not only amount to interfering with internal proceedings of Parliament, but also set a precedent that would paralyze and undermine various internal proceedings of the National Assembly.
Kalaluka further stated that the Constitutional Court had no jurisdiction to hear the petition challenging Constitution (Amendment) Bill No. 10, which is proposed law.
He added that Chapter One Foundation can only challenge the contents of the Bill when it is enacted into law as the Court would then have power to review the said law.
“The petitioner is not entitled to any of the reliefs sought, therefore, the petition ought to be dismissed with cost to the respondents,” stated Kalaluka.
However, in its reply to the State’s answer to its petition filed in the Constitutional Court, Chapter One Foundation stated that it shall prove at the hearing of the petition that the State contravened the Constitution in the manner set out in its petition, and that it shall further prove that Lubinda issued a statement in which he mentioned that the amendment to the Constitution would be limited in scope.
It further stated that it shall prove at the hearing of the petition that the proposed amendments were uncharacteristic of a democratic society, adding that the State before initiating Constitutional (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, had indicated that the process was to refine the Constitution and not a substantial and comprehensive review of the same.
Chapter One Foundation also denied the allegation that the Constitutional Court’s mandate was to only consider the constitutionality of the law and that it could not be called upon to make pronouncements and declarations of a Bill.
It further denied the allegation that it could only challenge the contents of a Bill once they were enacted.
“Chapter One Foundation denies that they are not entitled to the reliefs sought in the petition and that the petition should be dismissed with costs. The respondent shall be put to strict proof thereof,” read the reply.