MAZABUKA Member of Parliament (MP), Garry Nkombo and 51 other United Party for National Development (UPND) parliamentarians have argued that they were within their Constitutional rights to walk out of the National Assembly on March 17, 2017.
Mr Nkombo, the UPND chief whip has since asked the Constitutional Court to dismiss a petition where a Kabangwe resident is seeking the declaration of their seats vacant and let the National Assembly handle the issue.
He said on behalf of his fellow MPs that Richard Mumba, could not ask the court to declare their seats vacant for breaching the oath by not attending Parliament because it’s a preserve of the National Assembly to deal with the matter.
Mr Mumba of Chief Chifwakula’s Village in Chibombo wants the court to determine whether or not the 52 by staying away from the National Assembly on March 17,2017 without reasonable cause, When President Edgar Lungu was scheduled to attend and address the house abrogated the constitution.
Mr Mumba wants the court to also declare that the 52 MPs are not eligible to re-contest their seats, once they are declared vacant.
He wants a declaration that MPs are bound by the Constitution to attend the National Assembly and be addressed by the President Mr Lungu whenever he attends and addresses the National Assembly.
But in their affidavit in support of their defence, the 52 MPs have argued that throughout their stay in Parliament, they have at all material times performed their duties in accordance with the will of the electorate and in accordance with the duty imposed on them by the Constitution.
Mr Nkombo further argued that, if anything, Mr Mumba did not have the Locus Standi to move the motion in court, as such his application should be dismissed.
“That even assuming that the petition was properly before this court, there remains no basis for the granting of the reliefs sought as the actions of the respondents were well within their constitutional rights and did not amount to the violation of any constitutional obligations on their part,” Mr Nkombo said.
Mr Nkombo said that the petition should be dismissed because Mr Mumba had not disclosed any alleged violations of the Constitution by the MPs.
He contended that under the laws and standing orders that govern the conduct of parliamentary business and of parliamentary processes in general, the National Assembly is capable of regulating its own affairs as required under the Constitution.
Mr Nkombo stated that it was for this reason that following the event of March 17, 2017, several points of orders were raised on the floor of the house.
He said the points of order were to be dwelt with by the National Assembly in accordance with established processes and procedure of the house.
Mr Nkombo said that the 52 MPs were written to by the clerk of the National Assembly setting in motion the established processes and procedures of the house aimed at regulating the conduct of the business of the house .
He said that the matters that Mr Mumba sought to be determined by the court stood to be determined by the National Assembly in its decision on the points of order.
Mr Nkombo said that the action comprised in the petition is, in effect, seeking to usurp the functions of the speaker of the National Assembly and should be dismissed.