LAWYER for 44 UPND members of parliament has told the Constitutional Court that their renewed application to dismiss a petition by Richard Mumba for the court to declare that they breached the law when they shunned President Edgar Lungu’s address in 2017 is not abuse of court process. Mulambo Haimbe on behalf of his clients moved a motion in which they want Mumba’s petition to be dismissed with costs. The case came up before judges Mungeni Mulenga, Enock Mulembe and Martin Musaluke and informed parties that the case was initially scheduled for the hearing of the main petition but along the way, the respondents raised a motion through an application of renewal.
Haimbe said the court had jurisdiction to hear the renewed application.
He said Mumba’s petition does not disclose the cause of action capable to determined by the court as he sought to have the court determine the matter which related to the internal operations of the National Assembly which matters were governed by subsidiary legislation, rules and regulations which do not form part of the Constitution.
Haimbe said Mumba was seeking declaration of issues, which fell out of jurisdiction of the court, adding therefore, that their renewed application was not an abuse of court process. He reiterated his earlier prayer that the petition be dismissed with costs. And Mumba’s lawyer Robson Malupenga submitted that the court could not reverse the decision that was made by a single judge without an appeal. The application to dismiss the petition was earlier made by a single judge but it was dismissed. The single judge however, advised the opposition legislators to raise the issues before the full court. But Malipenga urged the court to dismiss the case because there could not be two decisions from the same court as the same could end up undermining the court. He said the 44 respondents could not bring back an application, which was dismissed by a single judge, urging the court to dismiss it for being an abuse of court process.
Mumba in this petition wants the court to declare the seats for the 44 respondents vacant for misconduct by shunning the Presidential address.
He also wants the court not to allow the respondents to re-contest during the life of the current Parliament.
After hearing parties, judge Mulenga reserved ruling to a date to be communicated.