ECONOMIC Freedom Fighters Party (EFF) president Kasonde Mwenda has applied for leave of the Lusaka High Court to commence judicial review proceedings against government’s decision to give public officers with political ambitions up to November 30, 2020 to resign from their offices.
Mwenda wants to challenge a Cabinet Office Circular No.12 of 2020 dated October 20, 2020 in which Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Simon Miti directed all Public Officers, including those serving in Foreign Missions, Quasi-Government, Grant Aided Institutions and State Owned Enterprises intending to participate in the 2021 general elections to resign from the public office no later than November 30, 2020.
The EFF leader is seeking a declaration that the Cabinet Office Circular No. 12 of 2020 is illegal and null and void, and an Order of Certiorari, to move the High Court to quash the said published Circular and compel them to prepare a new one which is rational and in conformity with the dictates of the Zambian law.
Mwenda also wants an order to compel the Secretary to the Cabinet to retract the Cabinet Circular No. 12 and apologize for the inconvenience the directive has caused to prospective election candidates working in the public service.
He also wants costs and any other relief that the High Court may deem fit.
The grounds upon which the reliefs are being sought are: Illegality; That the Secretary to Cabinet abrogated article 186 (1) and (2) of Constitution when he authored a directive through the said Cabinet Office Circular No. 12 of 2020.
Irrationality; That the time span from November 30, 2020, a date upon which the resignations are premised to have happened and the election date which falls on August 12, 2021 is irrationally long.
Mwenda argues that, that is nine long months away from work and pay.
Procedural Impropriety; That the Secretary to Cabinet was in breach of procedure to issue such an overreaching directive through a Cabinet circular which has no statutory or Constitutional backing.
He further argues that the Constitution has not prescribed a procedure on how to come up with a date upon which the aforementioned parties are supposed to resign.
Mwenda added that the directed date being November 30, 2020 as deadline for resignation for the said parties was arrived at arbitrary and without legal procedural.
According to an affidavit verifying the facts relied on for leave to apply for judicial review filed in the Lusaka High Court, Wednesday, Mwenda stated that they have exhausted their engagement with the Secretary to the Cabinet over this matter but to no avail.
He added that, that was the reason they have come to Court.
Mwenda argued that the Secretary to Cabinet does not have the legal authority under the Laws of Zambia to prescribe a deadline other than that guided by the Constitution and subsequently direct all public officers, including those serving in foreign missions, quasi-government, grant aided institutions and state owned enterprises, who have ambitions and intentions to participate in future elections and in particular the 2021 general elections to resign on it.
He added that due to the Cabinet Office Circular No. 12 of 2020 Public Officers who did not resign as directed but wish to participate in the 2021 General Elections were afraid of facing disciplinary action as indicated and may thus not be able to participate in the 2021 election.
“The Cabinet Office Circular No. 12 of 2020 directing all public officers, including those serving in foreign missions, quasi-government, grant aided institutions and state owned enterprises, who have ambitions and intentions to participate in future elections and in particular the 2021 general elections, to indicate in writing and state their informed decision to resign from the public office not later than 30th November, 2020 is illegal, irrational, and an affront to the promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” stated Mwenda.