Constitutional Court throws out petition on Bill 10

LAZ President Linda Kasonde
Linda Kasonde
LAZ President Linda Kasonde
Linda Kasonde

The Constitutional Court of Zambia has dismissed the petition by the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and Chapter One Foundation running by former LAZ President Linda  Kasonde for being prematurely before the Court and lack of merit.

Judge Mulembe delivered the majority Judgment of 6 Constitutional Court Judges which tossed out the petition while Judge Munalula delivered her minority views in favour of the petition.

Judge Mulembe said the Constitutional Court has no jurisdiction to hear a matter concerning a Bill which is a proposal or an intention to amend the law, endorsing the earlier decision of the Court of Appeal in the 1972 case of Nkumbula versus the Attorney General in which the Court stated that “it would be premature to come to Court before the Bill had been given its third reading.”

Judge Mulembe made clear the Court has powers to declare any provision of the law as unconstitutional and referred to the case of Godfrey Malembeka versus Attorney General in which the Court declared Sections 9(1)(e) and 47 of the Electoral Process Act as unconstitutional, null and void thereby allowing prisoners to vote in future elections.

The Court also referred to another case of Webby Mulubusha versus Attorney-General which declared the provisions of Sections 4, 6 and 7 of the Chiefs Act were declared null and void for being inconsistent with Article 165 of the Constitution.

On the question as to whether the Court has power to declare any provision of the Constitution as unconstitutional, the Court stood by the recent judgment delivered by the full bench in the case of Godfrey Miyanda versus the Attorney General in which it stated:

“While we recognise the possibility of this [Constitutional] Court to question the constitutionality of a constitutional amendment from the procedural standpoint, under the present constitutional framework, the Court cannot determine the constitutionality of an amendment based on the substantive considerations. An amendment become of the Constitution itself upon its passing.”

The Constitutional Court has also disagreed with the submissions by Chapter One Executive Director who is also lawyer of the organisation that the Constitution of Zambia has a basic structure which cannot be altered by Parliament.

The Attorney General had submitted that the question of the basic structure doctrine was already settled by the decision of the Constitutional Court in the Godfrey Miyanda as well as the Supreme Court case of Zambia Democracy Congress versus the Attorney General in which the Supreme Court held that the argument on the basic structure only exist in theory as Parliament has power to amend any parts of the Constitution provided procedure has been followed.

The Law Association of Zambia had told the Court that it was not challenging the content of the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill No. 10 but was merely challenging the decision by the President to initiate the Bill in accordance with the powers conferred on him by Article 92 of the Constitution. LAZ also challenged the signing of the Bill by the Attorney General for tabling in Parliament and the decision by the Parliament to perform its legislative functions of publishing the Bill and considering its enactment.


    • A constitutional court that has no jurisdidition over constitutional issues!!What kind of absurdity is this? John Sangwa was right, none of the judges on the Concourt has requisite experience. They should all just go back to conveyancing. Bill 10 will not pass at Parliament.

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    • Good riddance.

      Let’s roll folks.

      Linda na Mwitwa are just confused and crooked lawyers.
      Fast forward bill no.10

    • Waste of time. The precedent are clear especially from Miyanda. The process has been followed and challenging bill again will lead to same result. We must learn as Zambians to see all sides of the case before judging our courts. Laz and Linda had no case at all except the appetite to make money in fees from the sponsors. They took politics to court. UPND was behind this petition

    • Thanks to LAZ and Chapter One for standing up against injustice and tyranny. As usual Concourt has failed the Nation. It has failed to discharge its Constitutional Responsibility for Expediency. What it means is that in Zambia a Ruling Party can pass a bad Constitution and nobody can do anything about it. Concourt should ensure that Constitutional Amendment Bills are legal and comply with current Constitution b4 they are passed into Law. The PLC should vet all Ordinary Bills and ensure they comply with the Current Constitution. On Bill 10 Concourt has abdicated its Constitutional Responsibility. Its now up Patriotic MPs to stop Bill 10 in Parliament. Since Concourt has no Jurisdiction over a Bill we can safely assume that all Courts including the High Court have no Jurisdiction over any…

  1. “The Law Association of Zambia had told the court that it was not challenging the content of the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill No. 10 but was merely challenging the decision by the President to initiate the Bill in accordance with the powers conferred on him by Article 92 of the Constitution.”

    So the question by LAZ to Con court was to determine whether or not, it was constitutional for the President to initiate the Amendment process(Bill 10) via National Dialogue Forum,for this was/is seemingly against provisions of Article 92 of the current Constitution.It seems this constitutional question was not answered.The argument by the Con Court that an Amendment become of the Constitution itself upon its passing, unfortunately, does not answer the question.

  2. LAZ council and its President must account for money wasted paying Musa Mwenye and Sangwa Simeza for court cases that were obviously going nowhere. Lawyers in Zambia are not cheap and these guys didn’t do it pro-bono. I’m surprised members haven’t asked for accountability of their membership funds

    • Those lawyers you mentioned are members of LAZ, what makes you think they charged LAZ, why should LAZ a private organisation with no dependence on taxpayers account to you? You see President donating Chinese buses to police you are there clapping but when its a private organisation you remember words like account.

    • Musa Mwenye wasn’t part of the team of lawyers that appeared before the Constitutional Court. U probably mean his partner in law practice and LAZ president Eddie Mwitwa. LAZ was merely foing it for the record. Bill No.10 is merely an intention by the National Assembly. The reasons the court has given for its verdict are legally sound. If I hv an intention to take a certain course of action, I hv not yet acted and cannot be held answerable for anything. Politically, the battle isn’t over yet. Unfortunately the calibre of some MPs on opposition benches isn’t really top notch. U cannot rule out betrayal of the people.

  3. Can Linda Kasonde please find a sensible job than join the looting NGOs parade that adds nothing to the GDP or job creation.

    • If you did your research you will find that she is a legal practitioner and a partner at Mulenga Mundashi Kasonde Legal Practitioners. She was also elected Vice-President for Africa of the Commonwealth Lawyers’.

  4. This Judgment doesn’t resolve the issue. If Concourt has no Jurisdiction over Bill 10 then who does? In other Countries Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) vets the Legality and Constitutionality of Ordinary Bills b4 they are enacted into Law in Parliament. Surely there must be a Jurisdiction which vets the Legality and Constitutionality of a Constitutional Amendment Bill. It looks like Concourt is abdicating its Constitutional Responsibility in Bill 10. If PF had a 2/3 Majority in Parliament it would use it to pass illegal and unconstitutional Bills. Since Concourt has no Jurisdiction over Bill 10 why does the High Court have jurisdiction over Lungu’s Impeachment Bill? More questions than answers!

  5. LAZ and Chapter 1 have done their part.
    It’s up to our MPs now to vote.
    Good luck Zambians with your Bill 10 and Constitutional dictatorship!

  6. But we all know the whole Constitutional Court bench is not just unqualified but equally incompetent. Bravo though to Munalula, he is the only one worth his salt on that bench, the rest are just vigalu vya chiwewe!

  7. It was an expected outcome from the Kangaroo Court. Even trying to gain legitimacy by stating that one judge dissented.They think we are kids,
    We are alive to the fact that the ConCourt is just a puppet of the PF government.The fact that they even allowed the PF ministers through the AG to appeal the ruling on their illegal stay in office proves the point.
    Bravo to Eddie Mwitwa , Linda Kasonde, LAZ and Chapter 1 Foundation for further exposing this sham of a court. After 2021, ConCourt will follow the PF into the Abyss.

    • They didn’t plan this properly, I am surprised a lot o people, NGOs never jumped on board as when this bill goes through it will be them complaining!

    • You have mummy issues hat’s why you have no respect for women. If your mother had syphilis and you were raised in a brothel it doesn’t mean every woman is like her!

    • UPND cadre is this your first time on LT?
      Ask those who were here long enough what happened to ‘Wise Commentator’ from Canada or Gay Jay who attends night school in UK.

    • You are not only fooooolish but equally ignorant to ask that question, most wise bloggers just read the articles on LT now and keep away from comments because dull childish cadres like you ( both in PF and UPND) have turned it into a cesspool of insults, if you are not insulting someone you trolling about imaginary wives.When you fail to debate you start cloning other bloggers names when everyone leaves you start wondering why the place is quiet.

    • You have Google search on your handset and you expect some to give you a link to the PDF file as if you can even manage read a paragraph in there

    • Tarino Orange, you expect your village relatives to support you with that type of bs response. No wonder you guys keep on losing elections. Internet and Google experience won’t do much. Anyway, shine your shoes and enjoy your cubicle success. Others will keep winning. Expect to see you crying from the sane cubicle after the 2021 elections

    • If someone is asking daft questions at this point when this matter has reached this stage do you think such a person expects a serious answer? Just like you who has typecast me as opposition how do you expect a sober debate if you convinced your demented self that I’m your fellow cadre from your foolish UPND.

  8. The ruling is not surprising coming from a very compromised judiciary. You don’t have to be a legal expert to know bill no. 10 is a fraud. The ruling doesn’t even fall into the premise of the presumption that the “law is a bitch”. This proper miscarriage of justice by partisan judiciary afraid to “bite the hand that feeds them”. It is as disgraceful as it is shameful.

  9. If meal mealie price goes down and Load shedding reduce next year UPND can they win general elections? THE ANSWER IS NO.
    Pray for more load shedding and drought so that you get help by natural disaster.Otherwise,UPND and it’s surrogates have a long way to go to convince people to vote for them and win general elections.
    LAZ as one of UPND surrogate proved futile in the court of law just like 2016 presidential petition.

  10. Case Law as usual, precedence stands out here. The Concourt was faced with a clear decision – did govt overstep its mandate by taking Bill 10 to parliament? can the president say eff-you to the people? what advantage does the govt have herethrough? the ountry HAS BEEN HIJACKED people !! The sudanese saw though it and REMOVED al Bashir…at our own peril IF WE AS A PEOPLE ACCEPT THIS RULING !!!

    • …once more – what has happened? those who feel ABOVE THE PEOPLE have ruled!And we watch and debate…dear God what have done wrong ???!!! Take a party that will reverse 9-11, IT WAS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE TO GIVE MCS THE VOTE THEN !!!! He, himself MUST be shocked at what HE DID – KK say it as it is, are we really a nation of COWARDS???!!!!

  11. The number of young Turks backing the wrong horse gas cost them great career prospects. If Linda had not succumbed to an opposition agenda and had been impartial in her dealings at LAZ she would have been a definite pick for Minister of Finance. Free wisdom says it’s easier to bring about change from the inside than from the outside. Many young professionals will go old backing opposition instead of choosing to support the government of the day. Don’t be mislead, as it is the biggest opposition party has already clocked more than 20 years. My advice, avoid shaking certain people’s hands in agreement, you will get bewitched for free. If this advice comes to late seek deliverance.

  12. She would have been a definite choice for Minister of Justice not Finance, my mistake.

    As it is Mwitwa has exposed his true colors and is not going anywhere for another 20 years. He’ll end up like MUSA Mwenye, a public figure in News Diggers Newspaper only

    • It depends how one measures success in the legal profession in Zambia. If success to you is being appointed as a minister in the form of Attorney General when you are just misleading the country by hook or by crook you think that is an achievement then you need to pray twice as much in your church tomorrow for mother Zambia.

  13. Mwitwa was recruited by Kasonde to UPND camp. Ultimately they have lost nothing but gained monies from donors who financed NGOs to pay them. This is pure trickery of the law profession. They take up cases they even know chances of success is zero. LAZ is clear they weren’t challenging Bill 10 content

    • Fooolish cadres always shortsighted, the BOZ governor himself warned you about this bill 10 are you going to accuse him of being a stupid UPND cadre you only see? Its no wonder the country has gone to the dogs.

  14. Lawyers ve turned political in this country. Even layman can see this exercise was futile fro beginning. LAZ had no case but just attracted to act all for the money from NGOs, UPND and donors. Shame.

  15. I thought what NAMOONDE is thinking I support not only revisiting our independence they will revisit even the the Day of National pray, fasting and reconciliation since its declared by a person to them it’s wrong .

  16. LAZ had a case it’s just that our courts have been hijacked by pf just like our bus stops, markets, plots, mines, Zesco and more. You see Kaiser beating you citizens with no repercussions all because he knows police and courts can’t touch him. I see you ignorant cadres are cheering this ruling even when it benefits you nothing. Lungu and his ministers are the ones to enjoy printing for themselves while you starve to death. You will remember LAZ when it’s too late and l don’t know what you going to tell your children

    • Related Posts:
      *Constitutional Court throws out five election petition appeals.
      *Lusaka High Court throws out PF petition against UPND’s Parliamentary by election victory in Sesheke.
      *The Constitutional Court throws out HH and GBM’s case challenging the swearing in of President Lungu
      *Constitutional Court warns HH and GBM, their petition case will be thrown out.
      *HH and GBM dont want the court to review the Constitutional Court’s judgment that dismissed their presidential petition.

      Utwakulondolola londolola kwati wefumo.

  17. My view the court should have not thrown the case out but hear it. This was not about the content of the bill but the process to be used to adopt the bill. The court was called on to review if the process to be used was constitutional or not but instead they focused on the content (the fact that the bill was not not law yet). The court is an integral body of the government as it provides the checks and balances to the powerful executive (govt) and legislators (parliament), accordingly all grieved persons by either govt or parliament seek the protection of the court, THOUGH IN THIS CASE THIS MIGHT NOT BE TRUE.

    Throwing this case out of court is a misplacement.

    Further the content of this bill can not be decided by parliament but WE THE ZAMBIANS

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