UPND asks ConCourt to quash Lungu’s threatened state of emergency

THE opposition UPND has challenged President Edgar Lungu’s proclamation of threatened state of public emergency in the Constitutional Court.



The UPND wants the Constitutional Court to interpret Article 31(2) of the Constitution of Zambia.


Meanwhile, UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka has submitted that it was unconstitutional for the National Assembly to convene for the purpose of passing a resolution to approve the declaration in the absence of UPND members of parliament.



According to originating summons filed in the Constitutional Court on Wednesday, the UPND, through Katuka, cited the Attorney General and the Speaker of National Assembly.



Katuka has asked the court to determine whether Article 31(2) of the Constitution of Zambia (amendment) in general and in particular its usage of the words “…by majority of all members thereof” is so ambiguous, vague or absurd that it warrants departing from the literal and purposive rule of interpretation.



He has sought the court’s determination on whether the Speaker of the National Assembly could convene the National Assembly under Article 31(2) of the Constitution of Zambia in the absence of the 46 suspended UPND members of parliament to approve by resolution the proclamation by President Lungu that a situation existed which, if it was allowed to continue, might lead to a state of emergency as promulgated in Gazette Notice No. 448 of 2017 under Statutory Instrument No. 53 of 2017 dated July 5, 2017.



The opposition party has further asked the court to impugn the decision of the Speaker and Parliament to proceed in the absence of the 46 suspended UPND members of parliament. Katuka wants to know whether or not this was not a suitable matter for the Constitutional Court to quash any decision or action by the Speaker of the National Assembly to approve by a resolution the proclamation by the President.



And in an affidavit in support of originating summons, Katuka submitted further that the decision by the Speaker was an ill-conceived chicanery scheme calculated to disenfranchise the said UPND members of parliament and their respective constituencies from participating in matters of national importance.

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