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LAZ PETITIONS CONCOURT OVER CONSTITUTIONAL BILL

LAZ has filed for an injunction in the Constitutional Court to restrain government through the National Assembly from enacting the Constitution (Amendment) Bill number 10 of 2019.

And the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) lawyers, Simeza Sangwa & Associates have written to National Assembly Speaker Dr Patrick Matibini, asking him to stop the process of enacting the Bill until the whole matter is determined by the Constitutional Court.

According to a petition filed in the Constitutional Court dated August 12, LAZ contended that by deciding to present the Bill to the National Assembly on August 2 this year, government contravened various provisions of the Constitution.

In a 101 paged petition, the President has been cited as the first respondent, while the Attorney General and National Assembly are the second and third respondents respectively.

The Association has listed over 50 proposals in the Bill, in various categories, that offend the Constitution.

LAZ has further contended that the Bill breached the current Constitution by seeking to remove its basic features such as stability and durability.

‘’The Petitioner contends that the decision by the Respondents to amend the Constitution within a period of less than four years after it was wholly repealed and re-enacted, except for Part III and Article 79 of the Constitution, is illegal in that the said decision contravenes Article 79 of the Constitution, because by the said decision the Respondents have undermined the stability and durability of the Constitution, the basic features of the Constitution,’’ LAZ stated.

The Association further cited, among other reasons, the proposal to remove the Bank of Zambia’s supervisory role on the economy and printing of the national currency.

LAZ also contended that the Bill contravened the Constitution by deleting mental and physical incapacitation from among reasons for removing a President and his Vice, Speaker of The National Assembly and his two deputies, and cabinet ministers.

The Association has since asked the court to quash the Bill.

‘’Pursuant to Article 128(2) of the Constitution, the Petitioner prays for relief in the form of: (a) a declaration that the Respondents’ decision to the extent to which it seeks to amend the Constitution in the manner set in the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, is illegal because it contravenes Articles 1(2), 8, 9, 61, 79, 90, 91, 92 and 79 of the Constitution,’’ stated LAZ.

‘’(b) an order (of Certiorari) that this Petition be allowed and that the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 which evidences the Respondents’ decision to amend the Constitution in the manner provided therein be removed forthwith into the Constitutional Court for purposes of quashing; (c) Any other remedy the Court may consider just in order to defend the Constitution and resist or prevent its overthrow, suspension or illegal abrogation; and (d) The costs of and occasioned by this Petition be borne by the Respondents.’’

And in a letter to Dr Matibini dated August 12, 2019, Simeza Sangwa & Associates requested him to state within seven days whether or not the Bill would continue to be processed by the National Assembly.

‘’…Mr Speaker, it has always been the tradition of the National Assembly not to debate or discuss matters that are before the Courts of Law. Since the subject of the said Petition is the constitutionality of the decision by the Respondents to amend the Constitution of Zambian in the manner set out in the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, is the Honourable Mr Speaker in a position to undertake, in lieu of the Petitioner moving the Constitutional Court for an interim order restraining the National Assembly from considering the said Bill, that the National Assembly will not, while this matter is pending before the Constitutional Court, continue with the legislative process to enact the said Bill into law?’’ asked Simeza Sangwa & Associates.

‘’Mr Speaker, we would be grateful to receive a response to these representations within seven (7) days from the date of the letter.’’

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