LEADER of opposition in parliament, Jack Mwiimbu is seeking leave to apply for judicial review over Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini’s decision to allow debates on Bill 10 to continue despite the fact that it had lapsed.
Mwiimbu, in his application filed on July 2, is also seeking, among other reliefs, that the court should order all proceedings in the National Assembly relating to the Bill to be stayed until after the determination of the matter or further order of the court.
Mwiimbu, the applicant in this matter, has cited the Attorney General as respondent.
In the affidavit filed in the High Court, Mwiimbu noted that the Speaker of the National Assembly did not acknowledge that the bill had lapsed and erroneously concluded, in his ruling to the point of order raised by Mazabuka Central member of parliament Gary Nkombo, that the House could proceed with consideration of the bill.
He stated that following the announcement by the Vice-President that consideration of the bill should continue, the Speaker allowed debate and proceedings to resume with Chipata Central member of parliament, Moses Mawere, expected to resume debate from where he had left off when the House adjourned sine die and at no point did the Speaker address the House on the matter of the bill having lapsed.
“That, despite the Honorable Speaker allowing the House to proceed in the aforementioned manner, at no time prior to or during the resumed debate was it agreed that special dispensation be made in respect of the established practice and procedure of the house to the effect that a bill lapses after six months and is accordingly killed. That despite numerous representations having been made on the matter of the lapse and consequent death of the bill, the decision of the Speaker to allow resumption of consideration, debate and other processes relating to a the bill on a date yet to be advised but within the current session of the National Assembly continues to be in force,” read the affidavit in part.
Mwiimbu further stated that in a press statement issued by Government Chief Whip on 25th June, it was conceded by the author that the bill lapsed on 4th June, 2020 according to established parliamentary practice and procedure.
“Contrary to what is stated in the press statement, the standing orders committee cannot and did not extend the life of the bill which in any case, had already lapsed by effluxion of time and had been “killed” on 4ht June 2020, well before the proceedings of 24th June 2020. That to the best of my knowledge, belief and understanding of parliamentary practice and processes, there is no procedure that allows for restoration to the order paper, consideration, debate or extension of the life of a bill after it has been killed due to lapse of time, since after such lapse of time the bill ceases to exist,” the affidavit further read.
Mwiimbu is therefore asking the court order the Speaker of the National Assembly to discontinue any further consideration, debate or other proceedings in relation to the bill.
“The reliefs sought are as follows: an order of certiorari to remove the decision into this Honorable Court for the purpose of it being quashed; an order of mandamus directing the Speaker of the National Assembly to discontinue any or any further consideration, debate or other proceedings in relation to the bill; a declaration that the decision is invalid, null and void and of no effect; an order that all proceedings in the National Assembly relating to the bill be stayed until after the determination of this matter or further order of this Honorable Court; any other relief that the Honorable Court may seem just in the circumstances; an order for costs; and that all necessary and consequential directions be given,” read the affidavit.