CALLS for Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini to resign after the Constitutional Court found that he exceeded his power in declaring Chishimba Kambwili’s Roan seat vacant are “senseless”, says Eastern Province Minister Makebi Zulu.
Meanwhile, Zulu says President Edgar Lungu’s eligibility case cannot be appealed as the matter was already settled in the Constitutional Court.
In an interview, Zulu, who is also Malambo PF member of parliament, said all stakeholders who were calling for Dr Matibini’s resignation were merely politicking over a standard procedural matter.
Last month, the Constitutional Court ruled that while Dr Matibini was well within his power to respond to the point of order that was raised on the floor of the House, he exceeded his powers when he proceeded to apply the purposive canon of interpretation of statutes in order to cure the lacuna that he identified in Article 72 of the Constitution as amended.
In this matter, Kambwili, who is also NDC leader, had petitioned the ConCourt for a declaration and order that the Speaker’s ruling dated February 27, 2019, was null and void, that his seat did not fall vacant as ruled by the Speaker, and that he did not cross the floor of the House as ruled.
“It is a non-starter! If you go to court, you appeal the decision of the sub-court to the High Court, and if the High Court was right and the Magistrates’ Court was wrong, how do you call for the resignation of the others? The reason we have a system is to provide checks and balances; those are the checks and balances that are there. So, it is not about calling for the resignation [of someone based] on a decision that was found not to be appropriate by the higher court, that is the system that we gave ourselves for the basis of checks and balances. And to ensure that there’s checks and balances does not mean that because the one has been changed and then they should resign, it doesn’t make sense at all! They are politicking over something that is pretty much procedural,” Zulu argued.
“Roan has got a member of parliament who is sitting in Parliament; honourable Chishimba Kambwili is no longer in Parliament; he is no longer member of parliament for Roan. So, if he wants to assent any royalty, he should go to court! I went through the judgement, there is nothing that awards him anything for that matter. The judgement doesn’t award him anything for that matter so I wonder what basis of the claim of compensation is? The order of the court or the judgement of the court does not award him anything, simply that.”
Meanwhile, Zulu said the ConCourt was clear on President Lungu’s eligibility.
“I think Sangwa is being mischievous! I think he is being mischievous in that the same arguments he is peddling in public are the same arguments he presented before the courts, and the courts disagreed with him. So, if the Court disagreed with him, he can’t go to the court of public opinion to try and overturn what the institution itself, which we respect very much, came up with. I think it is unbecoming of the State Counsel to try and argue a case in public, which he knows very well he lost in court because the order of the Court, as regards the first ground, proposed that the term or the supposed term that strutted two constitutional regimes did not amount to a full term, and they went further to say that because it was not a full term, it is unnecessary to determine whether or not he qualifies because it goes without saying that he does qualify,” said Zulu.
“So, it shouldn’t be a matter of debate or an attempt to mislead the public when he knows very well what the Court determined. If he is not happy, perhaps an option was going to be for him to appeal, but there is no such procedure. He can’t from the Constitution Court unless he goes back to seek an interpretation, but how do you seek an interpretation on something that is so straightforward, something that he ought to know that is, indeed, straightforward…the Court dealt with it decisively. He is just being mischievous!”