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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Suspension of Lusaka And Kitwe City Councils Unconstitutional, States Chapter One Foundation

General News Suspension of Lusaka And Kitwe City Councils Unconstitutional, States Chapter One Foundation

Chapter One Foundation says the decision by Local Government Minister Charles Banda to suspend Lusaka and Kitwe City Councils is unconstitutional and should be reversed immediately.

In a statement, Chapter One argued that the constitution clearly states that the national government and the provincial administration shall not interfere with or compromise a local Authority’s ability or right to perform its functions.

“Chapter One Foundation strongly urges the Minister of Local Government to revise his decision to suspend the functions of the two Councils in order to ensure his actions do not continue to run contrary to the requirements of the constitution,” Chapter one said.

Chapter One also called on the State to review the provisions in the Local Government Act as well as other legislation containing provisions that directly depart from the requirements of the Constitution to ensure that all leaders and citizens alike, continue to uphold our constitutional values and responsibilities at all levels of society.

“Sections 56 and 57 of the Local Government Act are in direct conflict with provisions contained in the Constitution, specifically Article 152 (2) and thus the Minister’s decision is unconstitutional and should be reversed immediately,” said Chapter One.

Below is the full statement

PRESS RELEASE DATED 28TH JULY 2020 ON THE SUSPENSION OF LUSAKA AND KITWE CITY COUNCILS BY THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Chapter One Foundation Limited promotes and protects human rights, human rights defenders, constitutionalism, social justice and the rule of law in Zambia, primarily through strategic litigation, advocacy and capacity building. Our aim is to promote and protect the Constitution and the rights included in it and by so doing, free the space for Zambians to fully participate in the democratic governance of the country. We recognize that press freedom plays an essential role in empowering individuals, strengthening economies, and fuelling true democracy throughout the world.

It has come to our attention that the Minister of Local Government, Dr. Charles Banda, earlier today, announced the immediate suspension of Lusaka and Kitwe Councils for the next three months following alleged illegalities in land allocation by the respective Councils and their Mayors.

Chapter One Foundation understands that the Minister of Local Government purportedly derived his powers to suspend the Lusaka and Kitwe Councils from sections 56 and 57 of the Local Government Act 2 of 2019 which state as follows:

56. The Minister may, by reason of the refusal, failure or inability of a council to adequately perform all or any of its functions, by statutory order—
(a) appoint a public officer to be the Local Government Administrator for that council; and
(b)suspend all councillors of the council from performing all of their functions as councillors and empower the Local Government Administrator to discharge all the functions of the council.

57. (1) An order made by the Minister under section 56 shall, unless revoked, expire after ninety days of the date of making the order, except that the Minister may, in the interest of local administration, extend the order for further periods of ninety days at a time

Sections 56 and 57 of the Local Government Act are in direct conflict with provisions contained in the Constitution, specifically Article 152 (2) and thus the Minister’s decision is unconstitutional and should be reversed immediately. Article 152 (2) of the Constitution states as follows:

“The national government and the provincial administration shall not interfere with or compromise a local authority’s ability or right to perform its functions.”

We believe that Article 152(2) was created to protect the rights and functions of local authorities from any interference from central and provincial administrations as a means to ensure functional efficiency, transparency and effectivity at the local level. Given that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, its provisions supersede any other legislation that is in conflict with its values and principles.

Chapter One Foundation strongly urges the Minister of Local Government to revise his decision to suspend the functions of the two Councils in order to ensure his actions do not continue to run contrary to the requirements of the constitution. We call on the State to review the provisions in the Local Government Act as well as other legislation containing provisions that directly depart from the requirements of the Constitution to ensure that all leaders and citizens alike, continue to uphold our constitutional values and responsibilities at all levels of society, for posterity, protecting the state from any potential forms of anarchy.

Chapter One Foundation

16 COMMENTS

  1. Does it matter? So many unconstitutional things fo happen here. If something unconstitutional is wht is in public interest, we should pretend not to know.

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  2. Linda is using wrong constitution.
    PF are using amemdended Bill-10 constitution, but that soft woman is using Constitution signed by Edgar in stadium.

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  3. Imwe ba chapter one, please, please stop being ridiculous.

    If 56/57 of local govt act is law then it cannot be constitutional conflict. The common sense thing here is to ask WHY 56/57 were evoked in the case of criminal activities in both local authority. In that sense it is NOT a constitutional wrong to tackle criminal activities in councils.

    The only matter that arises is if the Constitution and the law are conflicting in CONSTRUCTION, in which case it’s a matter of reworking the two until they speak to each other without conflict. But the action to tackle corruption cannot be wrong in any case. Stop being dramatic and raising poor intellectual arguments a five year old can unpick.

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  4. @Patriot abroad, you are wrong.
    The idea of that provision as well as the provision of having an elected mayor is to ensure total decentralization.
    If there are case of corruption, the police should step in and do the necessary investigations or arrests. As per constitutional provision, a mayor found wanting may lose his seat.
    No where does it say that cabinet may suspend the elected officials, in the same way that you cannot suspend an MP.

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  5. Also, when is the news about Minister of Education David Mabumba coming out? Some of us have already seen the video.

  6. Corruption and lawlessness is now the order of the day under lungu ,

    from day one , we have told lungu to deny allegations that he is a corrupt theif….

    He chose not to deny those allegations for reasons known to to himself…..

    Now look ???? Every body in GRZ thinks being called a corrupt theif is no big deal…..

  7. What is this chapter one ??? They clearly never read beyond chapter two of the constitution hence their lack of informed view hahaha. Go and read chapter two and then come back. You time wasters

  8. What is this chapter one ??? They clearly never read beyond chapter two of the constitution hence their lack of informed view hahaha. Go and read chapter two and then come back. You time wasters.

    Kz
    The other guy

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  9. I think people should read this statement carefully and if they want to take a position, read the laws. Which I am doing, so that I can come up with an informed position. What I am aware of, though, before I even embark on the matter of reading, is that if the case were to go to court, there would have to be a determination as to whether the Local Govt. Act is in conflict with the Constitution. If it is, then the Constitution takes precedence, as it is the supreme law. The Local Govt. Act would be in breach of the Constitution and therefore void. It has happened a number of times before, where Constitutions have been amended along the way, but subsidiary laws that may now be in breach, have not been amended accordingly. As of interest, Bill 10 sought to bring back the system where MPs can…

  10. Linda Kasonde trying to get a pay cheque. I think it’s not all about opposing the GRZ but rather work with it to improve the plight of the common citizen. Up your game, Linda.

  11. …. As of interest, Bill 10 sought to bring back the system where MPs can sit as councilors and the mayor is elected amongst the councilors themselves as it was before, rather than the citizens. Read into this as you may.

  12. @Chiza Chirwa, a few days ago, there was an article published here on LT, that has clarified that the minister has powers to have taken that action. He has the power to act as he has done. Maybe you look it over.

    I believe the article here is merely pointing out a conflict in wording and for that reason, there is no right or wrong in his action to suspend the two local authorities. There needs to be a look to rectify any shortfall in meaning and connectivity between constitution and the act.

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