THE decision by Kasama Central Member of Parliament Geoffrey Mwamba to become vice president of another party is in contravention of the Constitution which automatically removes him from the National Assembly and the party has now asked the courts of law to restrain him from attending parliamentary sittings to avoid unnecessary confrontation with other PF MPs and breach of peace in the House.
On Wednesday Mr Mwamba, known as GBM, announced his decision to join UPND where he has been appointed as vice president but indicated that he would still retain the seat he won under the Patriotic Front.
Under Sub section 1 of Article 71: ‘‘Every member of the National Assembly, with the exception of the Speaker, shall vacate his seat in the assembly upon dissolution of the National Assembly…(2)(c) in the case of an elected member if he becomes a member of a political party other than the party of which he was an authorised candidate when he was elected to the National Assembly, or if, having been an independent candidate, he joins a political or having been a member of a political party, he becomes an independent, the (d) if he or she assumes the office of President.
PF legal counsel Tutwa Ngulube said the sitting arrangement would be problematic as Mr Mwamba would be expected to seat with PF MPs while being a member of UPND.
In an affidavit in support of summons for interim injunction filed in the Lusaka High Court yesterday, Mr Ngulube said the action such as the one taken by Mr Mwamba’s had never happened in the Commonwealth and that the Republican Constitution prohibits parliamentarians from holding cross memberships.
“I am aware that even his sitting arrangement will be problematic as he will be expected to sit with the ruling party members of parliament while being a member of the opposition which sit on the other side.
“To avoid unnecessary confrontation amongst the Patriotic Front parliamentarians which will prevent them from effectively participating in the House or might cause a serious breach of peace, the said Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba should be retrained from attending parliamentary sittings as Patriotic Front Kasama member of Parliament while holding his new position as UPND vice president for administration,” Mr Ngulube said.
He said even Parliament will have difficulties classifying him because the National Assembly has no sitting arrangement for members with a duo political party membership.
Mr Ngulube said he was alive to the fact that until the court determines the legality of his duo membership, Mr Mwamba should not be allowed in Parliament until cleared by the court.
Mr Ngulube said he was aware that no amount of damages can atone for such kind of damage which is in all respect irreparable.
The legal counsel said PF, as a party, believed that restraining Mr Mwamba would bring sanity to political parties represented in Parliament and also will set a precedent for future parliamentarians.
He said by joining UPND, it effectively meant that Mr Mwamba had a duo party membership of two political parties that hold seats in the current National Assembly.
He said he perused the Republican Constitution and noted that the decision of Mr Mwamba to join the opposition UPND and to accept the position of UPND vice president for administration rendered his seat vacant.
Mr Ngulube said in the run up to the January 2015 presidential election, the plaintiff was seen campaigning for the opposition UPND candidate Hakainde Hichilema despite being a member of the PF.
He was charged for conduct likely to bring the name of the party into disrepute and was given an opportunity to appear before the disciplinary committee but he refused to attend.
The party expelled Mr Mwamba but he quickly took the matter to court.