LUSAKA lawyer Lewis Mosho, acting on behalf of of two individuals has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Patrick Matibini, asking him to ignore the letter by Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo who is seeking to restore the motion to impeach President Edgar Lungu on the floor of the National Assembly.
In this matter, Robert Chabinga and Henry Mulenga have argued through Mosho’s law firm, Lewis Nathan Advocates that entertaining such a letter would lead the entire National Assembly into committing an illegal act, as the House cannot debate a matter that is before the courts of law.
On November 19, this year, Nkombo wrote to the Speaker requesting him to restore the motion to impeach President Lungu on the order paper.
And in reply to the letter, Clerk of the National Assembly Cecilia Mbewe said the Speaker was studying the matter and would revert to Nkombo in due course.
However, Chabinga and Mulenga have now written to the Speaker in a letter dated November 27, 2020.
Chabinga and Mulenga added that the consequences of the entire House committing an illegal act were vast and included private prosecution of each member of parliament.
“Our clients are in possession of a letter dated November 19, 2020, obtained from social media purported to be written by Honourable Gary Nkombo, MP, and addressed to you, requesting you to use your discretion and restore the motion on the floor of the National Assembly for debate and voting. Our clients instruct us to inform you that the said Honourable Gary Nkombo, MP, had applied to be joined to the same case of Robert Chabinga and Henry Mulenga vs Attorney General and that the Court of Appeal granted the joinder. This means that the Honourable Gary Nkombo is a party to the said Robert Chabinga case. Our clients also instruct us to notify you that the Robert Chabinga case is still pending before the High Court and has not yet been concluded by the said Court,” read the letter.
“Mr Speaker, sir, our clients instruct that we request you to ignore the letter written to you by Hon Gary Nkombo, MP, as entertaining such a letter will lead the entire National Assembly and, indeed, the House to not only contravene the subjudice rule, but also nurse the House into committing an illegal act. The consequences of the entire House committing an illegal act are vast. They include private prosecution of each member of parliament pursuant to appropriate provisions of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.”
They said the authorities made it very clear that the National Assembly cannot debate on a matter that was before courts of law.
On March 22, 2018, Nkombo as mover and then-Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili as seconder, moved a motion in Parliament to impeach President Lungu.
Upon receiving the motion, the Speaker on March 28, 2018, approved the tabling of the motion and guided that it would be tabled and considered by the National Assembly at a given date in June, 2018.
Consequently, Chabinga and Mulenga launched Judicial Review proceedings on April 3, 2018, before the Lusaka High Court.
Chabinga and Mulenga as first and second applicants, respectively, argued that it was unreasonable, procedurally improper and illegal for the Speaker to consider tabling the impeachment motion in Parliament.
They cited the Attorney General as respondent, while Nkombo and Kambwili joined the matter as respondents following the Court of Appeal’s order to have them joined to the Judicial Review Proceedings as parties that were properly interested in the same.