by Julia Malunga on 9 Dec 2019by Mirriam Chabala on 9 Dec 2019by Ulande Nkomesha on 9 Dec 2019by Natasha Sakala on 9 Dec 2019
by Stuart Lisulo on 9 Dec 2019by Stuart Lisulo on 5 Dec 2019by Natasha Sakala on 4 Dec 2019by Natasha Sakala on 28 Nov 2019
by Zondiwe Mbewe on 7 Dec 2019by Zondiwe Mbewe on 6 Dec 2019by Zondiwe Mbewe on 6 Dec 2019by Zondiwe Mbewe on 6 Dec 2019
- Goal Diggers
by Abraham Kalito on 9 Dec 2019by Abraham Kalito on 8 Dec 2019by Abraham Kalito on 6 Dec 2019by Abraham Kalito on 5 Dec 2019
by Diggers Editor on 9 Dec 2019by Diggers Editor on 6 Dec 2019by Diggers Editor on 5 Dec 2019by Diggers Editor on 3 Dec 2019
- Guest Diggers
by Julius Kapembwa (PhD) on 5 Dec 2019by Rueben Lifuka on 4 Dec 2019by Sishuwa Sishuwa on 22 Nov 2019by Dr Chishimba Mubanga, MSc on 22 Nov 2019
- Editor's Choice
by Diggers Correspondent on 24 May 2019by Diggers Reporter on 4 Mar 2019by Andyford Mayele Banda on 29 Jan 2019by Davies Mwila on 22 Jan 2019
by Diggers Correspondent on 9 Dec 2019by Sampa Kabwela on 23 Nov 2019by Natasha Sakala on 8 Nov 2019by Felix Kashweka on 4 Oct 2019
We’ve no jurisdiction over Bill 10, rules ConCourtBy Zondiwe Mbewe on 29 Nov 2019
There is nothing in Article 128 or any other provision in the Constitution that gives this court jurisdiction to question the contents of a Bill or to declare it unconstitutional, the Constitutional Court has ruled.
The court has therefore thrown out the petitions by the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and Chapter One Foundation Limited which were challenging government’s decision to alter the Constitution of Zambia through constitution (Amendment) Bill 10 of 2019, for lacking merit.
But Judge Munalula dissented to the majority judgement and said her opinion would be delivered immediately after the judgment of the majority.
Reading the majority judgement on behalf of other judges, Friday, justice Enock Mulembe said although the Constitutional Court had a very wide jurisdiction, the jurisdiction was still limited by the Constitution itself in Article 128 and could only exercise it based on the power given to it by the same Constitution.
He added that there was nothing in Article 128 or any other provision in the Constitution that gave the court jurisdiction to question the contents of a Bill or to declare it unconstitutional.
“It is clear from the provisions of Article 128(3)(b) that the Constitutional Court has jurisdiction to hear a matter concerning an allegation and an action, measure or decision taken under the law which contravenes the Constitution. However, the question is, does the court have jurisdiction to hear a matter that alleges that a Bill contravenes the Constitution as alleged in this case by Chapter One Foundation?” he asked.
“As can be seen from the provisions of Article 128, the Constitutional Court has very wide jurisdiction. But however, although this jurisdiction is extensive, it is still limited by the Constitution itself in Article 128. Therefore, as a creature of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court can only exercise the jurisdiction based on the power given to it by the Constitution. Therefore the question that follows is whether the Constitutional Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine an allegation that a Bill proposed to amend the Constitution contravenes any provision of the Constitution as has been argued by Ms [Linda] Kasonde. There is nothing in Article 128 or any other provision in the Constitution that gives this court jurisdiction to question the contents of a Bill or to declare it unconstitutional.”
Justice Mulembe said in as much as the court sympathized with the reliefs sought by Chapter One Foundation, the remedies were not available to it because the court did not have jurisdiction.
“In the nineth prayer, the second petitioner (Chapter One Foundation) prays for a declaratory order that government cannot fundamentally alter the Constitution without consulting the people of Zambia. In as much as we sympathize with the position the second petitioner finds itself in, that remedy is not available because this court does not have jurisdiction,” he said.
And on the reliefs sought by LAZ, justice Mulembe said it was clear that the association was asking it to delve into the contents of the Bill when it had no power to do so.
The court therefore dismissed both petitions for being unmeritorious.
“Coming to the first petitioner’s (LAZ) case, its first prayer is for a declaration that the President, National Assembly and Attorney General’s decision to the extent that it seeks to amend the Constitution in the manner set out in Bill no. 10, is illegal on grounds that it contravenes Articles 1(2), 8, 9, 61, 79, 90,91, 92 of the Constitution. It is clear that what LAZ is asking us to do is to delve into Bill 10. We have already stated that Article 128 (3)(b) gives this court jurisdiction, however, this jurisdiction does not extend to questioning the contents of the Bill,” said justice Mulembe.
“We have considered the prayers of the first petitioner and we are unable to grant without us delving into the Bill and its contents. It is a roundabout way of asking us to delve into the Bill, which we cannot do because we do not have jurisdiction. The prayer is therefore declined.”
But Justice Munalula dissented to the judgement although her opinion was not read out in open court.
In this matter, Chapter One Foundation Limited had petitioned the Constitutional Court for 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.
It further wanted the court to make a declaration that the President, Lubinda and the Attorney General, acted illegally by initiating legislation that did not comply with the national values and principles as provided in the Constitution.
Chapter One Foundation also wanted the court to make a declaratory order that government cannot fundamentally alter the nature of the Constitution contrary to the will expressed by the people without duly consulting them.
On the other hand, LAZ was seeking a declaration that government’s decision to the extent to which it seeks to amend the Constitution in the manner set in 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.
The petitioners cited Attorney General Likando Kalaluka as the respondent in the matter.
Seven Constitutional Court judges headed by court president Hilda Chibomba sat to hear the matter during trial.
About Zondiwe Mbewe
Zondiwe has interest in writing political and current affairs on issues which affect every Zambians.
Email: zondiwe [at] diggers [dot] news
- High Court orders Tutwa to pay Mwitwa damages for libel - 7 Dec 2019
- Trial continues in ritual killings case involving soldier, traditional healer - 6 Dec 2019
- Prime TV sues former employee for defamation - 6 Dec 2019
- Judge Nkonde narrates how security guard stole money from his house - 6 Dec 2019
- Girl narrates how biological father impregnated her - 6 Dec 2019
- Govt's attacks against Foote diplomatic gobbledegook - Mpombo (1,426 view)
- Wina describes UPND’s Lupososhi ward election victory as ‘small fish’ (1,120 view)
- Lungu, Tasila in Mukula cartel (1,033 view)
- Age just a number for prolific Chamanga (989 views)
- PF blames minister for Lupososhi loss, demands his resignation (797 views)
- One bullet can kill me, you don’t need to send cadres, Nkomeshya tells govt
- Humble tag won’t fool Zambians in 2021, Andyford tells Lungu
- PF syphoning money from KCM to fund party activities – Kambwili
- I’ve no time to discuss Lungwangwa, Kasonso – HH
- Zambezi River Authority approves $81m budget for 2020
- A bitter sweet message from the U.S Ambassador on gay crimes, hypocrisy
- Kapata to sue Diggers for publishing Mukula smuggling cartel
- I'll retain power in 2021 because I'm humble - Lungu
- PF blames minister for Lupososhi loss, demands his resignation
- Stop dividing us, stay out of politics, Lungu tells clergy
Subscribe For News In Email
- December 2019
- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
The News Diggers
Deputy News Editor
Plot No. Lus/9812/649-MC8
off Alex Chola Road
P.O. Box 32147
Telephone or WhatsApp:
diggers [at] diggers [dot] news
editor [at] diggers [dot] news
Send this to a friend