EIGHT PF members of parliament have recommenced, in the Constitutional Court, a matter in which they are challenging the Speaker’s decision to suspend them from parliament after the nullification of their seats despite them having appealed.
In this matter, Mutotwe Kafwaya, Lukas Simumba, Kalalwe Mukosa, Bowman Lusambo, Taulo Mbewe, Christopher Chibuye, Joseph Malanji, Allen Banda and Sibongile Mwamba have cited the Attorney General as respondents in the matter.
The petitioners are seeking a declaration that the decision of the Speaker of the National Assembly dated December 7, contravenes the Constitution.
They also want an order of certiorari to remove before this court for purposes of quashing the said decision for being illegal, unreasonable, unfair, and thus null and void.
The petitioners are further seeking an interim order to stay the decision of the Speaker pending the determination of the petition and an order that their dues for the duration of the suspension be paid.
According to the petition filed, Tuesday, the petitioners are seeking an expedited determination of the matter as the constituencies affected by the decision of the speaker have no representation.
They stated that sometime in August 2021, the petitioners were duly elected as members of parliament for Lunte, Nakonde, Chinsali Central, Kabushi, Lubasenshi, Mkushi North, Kwacha, Chimwemwe and Kasama Central Constituencies, respectively and subsequently, the said seats were petitioned against and the High Court nullified the said seats.
They stated that following the decision of the High Court to nullify their election, they appealed against the said decisions in the Constitutional Court.
The petitioners further stated that following a point of order [in Parliament], Speaker Nelly Mutti, in her subsequent ruling took it upon herself to interpret the provisions of the Constitution and decided that all members of parliament whose seats were nullified shall not take part in parliamentary business.
“The petitioners were ordered to vacate the National Assembly pending determination of the appeals before the Constitutional Court. Your petitioners submit that at the date of the ruling, on 7th December 2021, there was and still is in this court an active and pending matter before this court relating to the continued stay of your petitioners pending the determination of their appeals touching on article 73 of the Constitution of Zambia: Governance Elections Advocacy Research Services Initiative Zambia Limited vs Bowman Chilosha Lusambo and 9 others: 2021/CC/0055,” the petition read.
“The decision of the speaker to interpret the Constitution is ultimately unconstitutional as she has no power to do so as was observed in relation to Chishimba Kambwili when the Speaker, Justice P. Matibini, interpreted the Constitution rendering the Roan Constituency seat vacant. The Ruling by the Speaker of the National Assembly defied precedence, the subjudice rule and the legitimate expectation of the petitioners that they would remain in the House pending the final determination of their appeals by the Constitutional Court. That the decision by the Speaker is unconstitutional and thus illegal.”