High Court dismisses Kambwili’s application for judicial review over Roan Seat

The Lusaka High Court has dismissed NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili’s application for leave to commence judicial review against the decision of the Speaker of the National Assembly to declare his Roan Parliamentary seat vacant.

High Court judge Charles Zulu dismissed the matter for want of jurisdiction, noting that it was not a proper and fit case to grant leave for judicial review.

On Monday, Kambwili applied for leave for judicial review in the Lusaka High Court regarding the Speaker’s decision to declare his seat vacant on account of his alleged ‘floor crossing’ from being a member of PF to NDC, after he discontinued his petition on the same in the Constitutional Court.

However in his ruling, Wednesday, justice Zulu noted that Kambwili’s change of forum from the Constitutional Court which had exclusive jurisdiction over the matter, to the High Court, was wrong and unbelievable.

He noted that a matter that was purely within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court could not be launched via judicial review under Order 53 RSC.

“Interestingly, before the launch of this present application in the High Court, the applicant (Kambwili) had previously taken out a petition before the Constitutional Court over the same subject matter alleging that the Speaker of the National Assembly had contravened the Constitution. However, the petition was discontinued on March 11 and a few hours thereafter, the applicant re-launched the matter in the High Court via judicial review. I find the change of forum from the one with exclusive jurisdiction over the matter to this court, to be fallible and inconceivable,” judge Zulu stated.

He ruled that Kambwili’s matter was not a proper and fit case in which to grant leave for judicial review and therefore dismissed the application for want of jurisdiction.

“I have quite belabored at leave stage, in order to test whether this is a fit case to warrant a full trial especially that the jurisprudence regarding the interface between order 53 RSC and the new constitutional order espoused in article 128(1) is progressively taking shape through various and varied litigation in the courts of law. Nevertheless, given the obvious want of jurisdiction, as it were, on the part of this court, the answer is certainly that this is not a proper and fit case in which to grant leave for judicial review,” ruled justice Zulu.

“In view of the foregoing, I come to the conclusion that the application for leave should be denied for want of jurisdiction, and I so order. The application is therefore dismisses.”

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