EXPELLED PF LAWMAKERS SAFE FOR NOW – NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
THE National Assembly says the nine expelled PF members of parliament are still holding their seats as the speaker has not acted on Morgan Ng’ona’s letter to declare their seats vacant.
Deputy clerk of the National Assembly Cecilia Sikatele says an expelled member of parliament can only lose their seat upon confirmation by the Court when the said member does not challenge their ejection within the prescribed period.
In this case Ronald Chitotela, Nickson Chilangwa, Musonda Mpankata, Christopher Kang’ombe, Remember Mutale, Brian Mundubile, Stephen Kampyongo, Mulenga Fube and Mutotwe Kafwaya have petitioned Miles Sampa, Ng’ona and the Attorney General over their dismissal on reasons that Sampa’s ascendancy to the presidency of the Party is illegitimate.
The nonet argue that PF Secretary General Morgan Ng’ona has no authority to hound them out of the party as his appointment by PF president Miles Sampa is illegal.
Chitotela and others want the Constitutional Court to declare that the purported actions of the speaker to act on the letters sent to her by Ng’ona purporting to be the SG of the PF is illegal, null and void ab initio as such actions are a violation of Article 60(2) of the Constitution (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016.
The nine want an interim order allowing them and their camp (Lungu Faction) to operate freely and Sampa and Ng’ona should stop carrying themselves as leaders of the party.
The State in its affidavit in support of answer sworn by Sikatele said at the time Nelly Mutti replaced Mundubile with Robert Chabinga following the change of office bearers at the Registrar of Societies there was no Court order challenging the legality of Sampa’s presidency to render her decision illegal.
Sikatele said it has been the norm in the past appointments of the leader of the opposition for the opposition political party with the most seats in the National Assembly to notify the National Assembly if they intend to elect the leader of opposition.
“For example, in 2016, Mr Steven Katuka, the then Secretary General of the UPND, in a letter dated September, 2016, informed the Speaker that Mr Jack Mwimbu, MP for Monze constituency, was appointed as the leader of the opposition. This was after a meeting held and resolution arrived at by the party,” She said.
“Similarly, on August 30, 2021, Mr Davies Mwila the then PF Secretary General, informed the clerk of the National Assembly that Mr Brian Mundubile, MP for Mporokoso Constituency, had been appointed as Leader of the opposition. This followed a caucus meeting held between members of the central committee and MPs.”
Sikatele said in accordance with the constitution, when an MP is expelled from the political party which sponorsed them for election to the National Assembly, their seat becomes vacant.
She clarified that not until the Court endorses the expulsion or if the victim does not challenge the ejection, the said members continue to hold their seat.
“It is only after the confirmation of the expulsion by the Court or the elasping of the period within which to challenge the expulsion, that the speaker is mandated by the constitution within seven days to inform the ECZ of the occurence of the vacancy,” said Sikatele.
“Consequently, the office of the Speaker has not acted on the letter of expulsion from Ng’ona, therefore, the petitioners remain members of Parliament.”
And in their answer to the petition Sampa and Ng’ona said the extraordinary meeting was properly constituted and held, as it served the interest of the party and not private expectations and or political aspiration of individual members but the common good of the party as a whole.
They said the PF had not elected its president since the resignation of the former president Edgar Lungu in 2021, and, the circumstances permitted to call for an extraordinary convention in line with the provisions of the party constitution.
The duo said that due process was followed in accordance with the provisions of the party constitution Article 52(7) and (9) when they held an elective conference.
Sampa and Ng’ona said the petition intends to challenge his presidency and only the High Court has authority to determine such matters at first instance not the ConCourt.
They said there are already matters before the High Court bordering on his presidency that are pending determination.
Sampa said he was never hounded out of PF as his expulsion contravened the injunction of Judge Katanekwa stopping Raphael Nakacinda and Given Lubinda from expelling him as their appointment as leaders of the party by Edgar Lungu was illegal.
“It is important to note that no election has been held since, therefore the record remained showing Edgar Lungu as party president and Davies Mwila as SG respectively,” the respondents said.
“Article 60 of the constitution Act no. 2 of 2016 does not grant license to individuals to flout the constitutions of the political parties in the name of upholding private expectations and political aspirations of individual members.”
Sampa and Ng’ona added that the petition is an attempt to use the court to serve private expectations or political aspirations of individual members which does not serve the common good of the party.
“The petition seeks to re-litigate matters that are already pending adjudication in the High Court, which fall outside the purview of this court,” said the duo.
“This is a fit and proper case for this court to decline to deal with the petition as presented. The petitioners are therefore not entitled to any of the reliefs sought in the petition. The petition must therefore be dismissed with costs.”