Lusaka businessman Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba lost his seat as member of Parliament for Kasama Central Constituency the moment he became opposition UPND vice president, Attorney General Likando Kalaluka has submitted in court.
And Mr Kalaluka said the amended Constitution did not support Mr Mwamba’s petition before court as the provisions subject to the Court’s interpretation have been repealed.
This is contained in the respondent’s answer filed at the Lusaka High Court following a petition against the Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini’s decision to declare the Kasama Central vacant.
The Attorney General has argued that Article 71 (2) of the Constitution of Zambia clearly stated that a member lost his seat the moment that person decided to join another party other than the one which authorized his candidature and elected him to Parliament.
“The respondent will state that behind Article 71(2) with regard to this matter, is that an elected member loses his seat if he becomes a member of a political party other than the party of which he was authorized candidate when he was selected to the National Assembly.
“The respondent will state that whereas the Vincent Mwale ( MMD Chipangali MP) and Dawson Kafwaya (UPND Solwezi Central MP) have not left their respective political parties to formerly join the Patriotic Front, the petitioner has formerly left the PF and has formerly joined the United Party for National Development, thereby being caught up with provisions of Article 71 (2) (c),” he said.
Mr Kalaluka said the former lawmaker did commence judicial review proceedings against the declaration before Justice Florence Lengalenga, whose judgment was yet to be delivered.
He charged that contrary to Mr Mwamba’s claims of discrimination in his treatment compared to Mr Mwale who is Sports Minister in the Patriotic Government and Mr Kafwaya (Local Government Deputy Minister) the plaintiff did not qualify for consideration under the bracket of Article 23 of the law of the land.
“The respondent (Mr Kalaluka) will restate that the circumstances under which the petitioner’s seat was declared vacant are different from those involving the said Vincent Mwale and Dawson Kafwaya, as alluded to above,” he said.
He explained that the State was on firm ground and within the provisions of the Constitution that the seat was declared vacant.
Mr Kalaluka therefore indicated to the High Court that Mr Mwamba should not claim any entitlements as was being sought as relief in the matter before the courts.
Mr Mwamba last year announced publicly his resignation from the ruling PF and subsequently joined the UPND taking up the position of the opposition party’s vice presidency for administration.