UPND Member of Parliament Gary Nkombo and his Roan counterpart Chishimba Kambwili have applied to the Constitutional Court to join the case in which two known PF supporters, Robert Chabinga and Henry Mulenga have commenced Judicial Review proceedings over the motion to Impeach President Edgar Lungu.
This is after PF lawyers led by Lewis Mosho and others commenced the action with a view to quickly entering into a consent judgment with Attorney General Likando Kalaluka to have the impeachment motion quashed by Court before Members of Parliament even get an opportunity to debate the motion.
With Mr Nkombo and Mr. Kambwili joining the proceedings, such a move will be prevented.
The matter is now before Judge Banda Bobo.
Tuesday, THE Lusaka High Court has halted the impeachment of President Edgar Lungu following a challenge against the Speaker’s decision to entertain the motion.
The Applicants, Robert Chabinga and Henry Mulenga say the Speaker’s decision to accept the motion of impeachment was unreasonable, procedurally improper and illegal.
The decision they said was tainted with procedural impropriety, because the issues raised in the impeachment directly touched on matters that were actively before the courts of law making it illegal, unreasonable and procedurally improper.
The applicants are being represented by Lusaka lawyers Mr Hobday Kabwe of Hobday Kabwe and Company, Mr Lewis Mosho of Lewis Nathan Advocates and Mr Kanja Mpundu of Palan and George Advocates.
They noted that parliament could be challenged in court when it made decisions that impinged on constitutionality and that the National Assembly was not meant to shield itself with privileges which glaringly undermined the constitution.
The rule of law they noted provided for the control of public power including judicial review of all legislation and conduct which was inconsistent with the constitution.
In her ex parte order for leave to apply for judicial review granted on 4th April, 2018, Judge Bobo Banda granted the application for leave that was to operate as a stay of the decision of the Speaker of the National Assembly to table the Notice of Motion presented by Mr Gary Nkombo and Mr Chishimba Kambwili to impeach the President pending the full determination of the matter or until any further direction by the court.
The Applicants noted that any act or omission that contravened the constitution was illegal. The motion was such act.
This was because the motion of impeachment dealt with grounds that were still being determined by another arm of the government which were the courts of law and were therefore sub judice.
Failure to observe this fact was prejudicial.
They argued that the Speaker’s decision to table the motion was unreasonable in so far as the Speaker should have known some of the issues raised were before the courts or irrelevant as they related to decisions made by independent organisations such as Kawambwa Tea and ZAFFICO operating under the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which entities were audited by the Auditor General and were therefore accountable to the central treasury.
They also said that the motion was unreasonable because all the signatories who appended their signatures were members of the UPND, hence the Speaker should have exercised reasonable observation of partisanry.
They also said the motion was illegal, null and void because the Speaker should not have entertained receipt and notice of matters that were either awaiting determination under various causes before the courts, or indeed were not of sufficient gravitas to warrant the impeachment of a sitting President.