SPEAKER’S RULING ON ALLEGED EXPELLED MPS

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  • SPEAKER’S RULING ON ALLEGED EXPELLED MPS

SPEAKER’S Ruling Date:
Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Parliamentary.

Period:

Third Session of the Thirteenth Assembly

● Ruling by the Hon. Madam Speaker – On a Point of Order raised by Mr. R K Chitotela, MP for Pambashe Against the House for according Mr. M B Sampa, MP for Matero the Privileges and Immunities enjoyed by Members when he had allegedly been expelled from PF

●the Point of Order raises the issue of the status of a Member who has been expelled from the political party that sponsored him or her to the House.

●This was settled by the Constitutional Court in the case of Chishimba Kambwili v Attorney General, 2019/CC/009.

●In that case, on 27th February, 2019, the Speaker of the National Assembly declared the Roan Parliamentary seat vacant on the basis that Dr C Kambwili, MP, had left the Patriotic Front (PF), the political party on which he was elected as Member of Parliament, and that he joined the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

●The Constitutional Court at pages J37 and J38 stated as follows:
“Our firm view is that while the Speaker was well within his power to respond to the Point of Order that was raised on the Floor of the House, he exceeded his powers when he proceeded to apply the purposive canon of interpretation of statutes in order to ‘cure’ the lacuna that he identified in Article 72 of the Constitution as amended.

●We find that the Speaker exceeded his power as the function of interpreting the law and the Constitution is vested in the Judiciary as provided by Article 119 of the Constitution.

FOR RULING BY THE HON MADAM SPEAKER ON A POINT OF ORDER RAISED BY MR R K CHITOTELA, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR PAMBASHE AGAINST THE HOUSE FOR ACCORDING MR M B SAMPA, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR MATERO CONSTITUENCY THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES ENJOYED BY MEMBERS WHEN HE HAD ALLEGEDLY BEEN EXPELLED FROM THE PATRIOTIC FRONT PARTY

Hon Members, the House will recall that on Thursday, 26th October, 2023, when the House was considering the Ministerial Statement by Hon S Masebo, MP, Minister of Health, on the Cholera outbreak in the country andthe Hon Minister had just concluded responding to a question by Mr Charles Mulenga, Member of Parliament for Kwacha Constituency,Mr R K Chitotela, Member of Parliament for Pambashe Constituency, raised a Point of Order against the House.

In his Point of Order, Mr R K Chitotela, MP, cited Standing Orders131 (7) and 202 (2) of the National Assembly of Zambia, Standing Orders, 2021, which provide for a Point of Order to relate to the interpretation or enforcement of a law on privileges of Members and the privileges of Members, respectively.

In his Point of Order, Mr R K Chitotela, MP enquired whether the House was in order to accord Mr M B Sampa, Member of Parliament for Matero Constituency, the privileges and immunitiesgranted to Members of Parliament when he had been expelled from the Patriotic Front (PF) Party and court process had been issued to that effect.

Hon Members, in her immediate response, the Hon Madam First Deputy Speaker reserved her ruling. I have studied the matter and will now render my ruling.

Hon Members, let me begin by reminding the House that a Point of Order cannot be raised against the House. This is because the purpose of a Point of Order is to draw the Speaker’s attention to a breach of the rules of the House by a Member.

The Point of Order is, therefore, inadmissible.

However, given the fact that this matter has attracted a lot of interest from a wide spectre of society, I have decided to provide guidance to the House and, through the House, the public at large.

Hon Members, the Point of Order raises the issue of the status of a Member who has been expelled from the political party that sponsored him or her to the House.

As you are well aware, the fate of a member who is expelled from the political party that sponsored he or she to the House is provided for in Article 72 of the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia

As you are also aware, under Article 128(1) (a), the interpretation of provisions of the Constitution is the preserve of the Constitutional Court.

This was settled by the Constitutional Court in the case of Chishimba Kambwili v Attorney General, 2019/CC/009.

In that case, on 27th February, 2019, the Speaker of the National Assembly declared the Roan Parliamentary seat vacant on the basis that Dr C Kambwili, MP, had left the Patriotic Front (PF), the political party on which he was elected as Member of Parliament, and that he joined the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The Constitutional Court at pages J37 and J38 stated as follows:
“Our firm view is that while the Speaker was well within his power to respond to the Point of Order that was raised on the Floor of the House, he exceeded his powers when he proceeded to apply the purposive canon of interpretation of statutes in order to ‘cure’ the lacuna that he identified in Article 72 of the Constitution as amended.

We find that the Speaker exceeded his power as the function of interpreting the law and the Constitution is vested in the Judiciary as provided by Article 119 of the Constitution.

The interpretation of the Constitution as a legal instrument is the function of the Courts, the branch of government to whom is assigned that delicate task.”

Hon Members, for me to delve into whether or not Mr M B Sampa, MP, should continue to enjoy the privileges of this House would require my interpreting the provisions of Article 72.

As clearly indicated by the Constitutional Court in the Chishimba Kambwili case, the interpretation of the Constitution is a function of the courts.

In view of the foregoing, I do not have the jurisdiction to do that.

I thank you
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Ruling Date:
Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Parliamentary Period:
Third Session of the Thirteenth Assembly

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