The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has called on Speaker of the National Assembly, the Hon. Patrick Matibni SC., to allow members of parliament who have allegedly been expelled by their political parties but have challenged their expulsion in court, to attend Parliamentary business until their cases are determined by the courts.
YALI has noticed that as opposed to the past where a Member of Parliament would be made to stop attending Parliamentary business an allegation by their Party that one has either crossed the floor or has been expelled by his or her political party, unless the expelled members obtains some form of an injunction issued by the court, the amended Constitution as assented by President Lungu, allows members of Parliament who challenge their expulsion from their parties to remain MPs until the court makes a determination as to the validity of such an expulsion.
It is our understanding that, by Article 72 Clauses 5 to 7, members of parliament who challenge their expulsion from a political party cannot lose their seat unless and until such expulsion is confirmed by the court.
Article 72 Clause 7 is instructive; that a member of Parliament shall vacate their seat only when when a court determines that the expulsion of a member by his or her party, was justified.
Because of such changes in the Supreme law, YALI would like to remind our Judiciary, that it does not have the luxury of time in dealing with petitions of members of parliament which come before our courts. We accordingly call upon our courts to deal with such petitions expeditiously, avoiding any delay which will not contribute to effective dispensation of justice.
YALI therefore calls on Speaker Matibni to uphold and respect the Constitution with regards to seats of members of Parliament who have challenged their parties’ actions in expelling them, by allowing them to attend sessions of Parliament and enjoy all the rights and privileges as members until the courts make a determination of such members’ petitions.
Once again, we wish to applaud President Lungu for giving his assent to the Constitutional amendments, which now ensure that political parties do not unnecessary deprive the electorate of the the right to be represented in Parliament as had been the case in constituencies where MPS had challenged their expulsion but were not allowed to attend Parliament.
YALI is highly expectant that Speaker Matibini will enforce the new constitutional order in the same manner he previously enforced the law when members of Parliament were required to vacate their seats under the old Constitutional order.
Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)