Kamfinsa Member of Parliament Christopher Kang’ombe has hailed the recent ruling by the Constitutional Court that nine Patriotic Front (PF) Members of Parliament banned from attending Parliament business by the Speaker of the National Assembly should remain in Parliament because they appealed against the nullification of their seats.
Speaker Nelly Mutti on December 7, 2021 banned nine MPs whose seats were nullified by the High Court from attending Parliament business.
The nine are Bowman Lusambo (Kabushi), Joe Malanji (Kwacha), Allen Banda (Chimwemwe), Kalalwe Mukosa (Chinsali), Mutotwe Kafwaya (Lunte), Lucas Simumba (Nakonde), Taulo Chewe (Lubansenshi), Christopher Chibuye (Mkushi North) and Sibongile Mwamba (Kasama Central).
In a judgment in the matter, Judge Palan Mulonda ruled that Speaker Mutti should not have sent the nine MPs away because they appealed against the High Court’s decision to nullify their seats which by the operation means that they retained their seats in Parliament until the determination of the appeal by the Constitutional Court.
In an interview, Mr. Kang’ombe, the Patriotic Front National Youth Chairman, said the Constitutional Court judgment is not surprising.
He said precedents have been set in the past where Members of Parliament who have appealed the nullification of their seats remained in Parliament.
Mr. Kang’ombe said Speaker Mutti’s ruling was shocking.
He said the Speaker of the National Assembly should learn from the Constitutional Court ruling that quashed her earlier decision.
“The verdict was expected. Filya bapingwile ba judge tafitupapwishe. Even the Speaker I my opinion saw this judgment coming. There are enough cases which have been determined in similar fashion. You know when you take a matter to court; first thing the courts will ask is have the courts have handled a similar case. Judges do not know only rely on wisdom but precedents as well. So when the case went to the Constitutional Court some of us knew that what has been passed will be the outcome,” Mr. Kang’ombe said.
“When a Member of Parliament loses a seat ku High Court, the person has the right to appeal unless he doesn’t want to appeal. To ask a higher court to review the case and the judgment. So balya abena Bowman Lusambo, ba Malanji na banandi ba Simumba aba ku Nakonde by appealing they knew that the Constitutional Court will consider precedents in their case. In the past the courts have already ruled that when an MP loses a seat, upon appeal they must return to Parliament.
There are enough decided cases so it was surprising to see the Speaker, who is a lawyer and has a team of legal advisors, made such a decision of not allow MPs in Parliament. A Speaker doesn’t rule from the blues. The Speaker has a legal team. She’s got lawyers under National Assembly and they are paid by tax payer’s money so they have a duty not to mislead to the Speaker,” Mr. Kang’ombe said.
The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) had asked the court to interpret provisions of the Constitution which the Speaker used to bar the nine PF MPs whose parliamentary elections were nullified.
“So as the youth league of the former ruling party PF, as a Member of Parliament it was surprising that the Speaker ruled in such a manner when there are already other cases. So in short, I am not surprised as Christopher Kang’ombe that the Constitutional Court decided to do the right thing. The right thing is that we have the Legislature, Judiciary and we have the Executive.”
“Aba ba Executive teti bapoke amaka ba Legislature, ba Legislature nabo Teti bapoke amaka ba Judiciary. Abakupingula imilandu ni ba Judiciary. So for me the outcome shows that we respect the separation of powers and it should continue. I do hope that it is a lesson for the office of the Speaker in as far as cases that has been determined before are concerned. That matter had been determined before,” Mr. Kang’ombe said.