Rainbow Party general secretary Wynter Kabimba says it is unfair to assume that the submission by judges on Constitution Amendment Bill No. 10 of 2019 will prejudice the Law Association of Zambia’s (LAZ) case to petition the amendment to the Constitution.
In an interview, Kabimba, a former Justice Minister in the Sata-led PF administration, argued that there was no prejudice in the matter as the ongoing case had been commenced under the provisions of the current amended Constitution of 2016.
Judges are expected to appear before the parliamentary Select Committee on Wednesday, September 25, regarding the controversial Constitution Amendment Bill No. 10 of 2019.
“So, I think it will be unfair to assume that the submissions by the judges may prejudice the case by LAZ, which is before them because the amendments are not for a particular group of people; they are constitutional in nature. I don’t see how you can draw an assumption from there or any fear, or apprehension that may prejudice a case by LAZ,” Kabimba said.
“As a lawyer, I don’t see how that would prejudice an ongoing case because that case has been commenced under the provisions of the current (amended) Constitution. So, the judges, even as they come back from their submissions, they are coming to interpret the existing law. They can’t assume that this is what will be the law and hence make that judgement; they have to interpret the current law, that is what they have to do and their submissions have nothing to do with the current law.”
He added that the Constitutional Amendment Bill 10 was not yet law so any dispute in the Judiciary will be adjudicated under the current Constitution.
“So, any dispute, which is before the Judiciary now, will be adjudicated under the current Constitution. So, there is no constitution yet that can prejudice that matter. The action that has been commenced has been commenced under the current Constitution,” Kabimba observed.
“So, there is no constitution yet, the Constitution Amendment Bill Number 10 is not law yet; it is still an academic exercise if one was to put it that way. It is still a debate; it is still a national discourse; it is not law; it can’t be cited in any court of law as yet.”
He insisted that nobody could in any way prejudice the proposed amendments contained in Bill 10.
“The idea is that every group of stakeholders, that include judges, every sector has been invited to make their submission on Constitution Amendment Bill Number 10 2019; this is just a national debate; nobody can in any way be prejudiced by the proposed amendments contained in Bill number 10 in a court of law,” Kabimba added.
“All that Parliament is saying: let everybody, I am told that 29th will be opened to all members of the public whether you are a police officer, a soldier, an intelligence officer on the 29th of September you can go and make submissions.”
He further pointed out that the judges were not usurping the powers of Parliament in their submissions.
“The judges are not making law, okay, the separation of power principal is that let the Legislature make law, let the Executive carry out executive functions and let the Judiciary adjudicate disputes,” said Kabimba.
“But they are not going to make law; they are going to make submissions, so they are not in any way usurping the powers of Parliament. Parliament can decide to ignore their submissions; it still has that power. But that is a nature of democracy; you will always have critics and opposing views.”