KASAMA Central member of Parliament Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba has maintained that he is still a lawmaker under the Patriotic Front (PF) despite his decision to join the opposition UPND.
Mr Mwamba has asked the High Court to determine and declare that his purported expulsion from PF on grounds of his decision to join the UPND and exercise his fundamental rights and freedoms provided for in the Constitution is discriminatory and should be prohibited as a matter of public interest and serving justice.
In a petition filed in the Lusaka High Court yesterday, Mr Mwamba said he was an active member of the ruling party, and his association with the opposition does not quality as grounds to have his parliamentary seat declared vacant.
Mr Mwamba has sued the Attorney General, PF secretary general Davies Chama, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and all losing presidential candidates in the January election as interested parties.
“It may be determined and declared by interpretation of the provisions of Article 71 (2) of the Constitution of Zambia that the petitioners fundamental rights and freedoms of political association and political expression with regard to an opposition party, notwithstanding that he is an active member of the ruling party, does not qualify as grounds to have his parliamentary seat declared vacant.
“It may be determined and declared that the petitioner’s support, political expression and political opinion with regard to an opposition political party does not amount to floor crossing in Parliament by way of construction of Article 71 (2),” the petition reads.
He said the court should determine and declare that his expulsion as a result of political expression and political opinion amounts to discrimination and contravenes articles 23 of the Constitution of Zambia.
Mr Mwamba stated that he strongly believed that his action, fundamental rights and freedoms in respect to association, affiliation and expression of political views and opinions other than that of the ruling party were not in literal and purpose sense within the bracket of the provisions of Articles 71 (2) of the Constitution that provides for how a parliamentary seat can be declared vacant.
He said the fact that he has a different political opinion other than PF should not disadvantage him in any constitutional manner whatsoever as PF is equally associating, appointing, affiliating and intermingling with MPs from opposition parties.
Mr Mwamba said none of those MPs from the opposition, who campaigned during bye-elections for the ruling party, have been expelled from their political parties.
But Mr Chama has insisted that Mr Mwamba has contravened the provisions of Article 71 (2) (c) of the Constitution and that he should not continue to attend parliamentary sittings as Kasama MP while holding membership of UPND.
“The said membership meant that the defendant has now become a member of the opposition party and has in so doing contravened the provisions of Article 71 (2) (c) which clearly states that if a member of the National Assembly becomes a members of a political other than the one that sponsored him, he shall vacate his seat,” he said.
And Lusaka High Court judge Mwiinde Siavwapa will handle the matter in which Mr Chama is seeking an interim injunction to restrain Mr Mwamba from representing the PF in Parliament.
Mr Justice Siavwapa has set July 31, 2015 as the date for inter parte hearing for the matter.