GBM wins Kasama Central seat tussle


UNPD vice president for administration, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba is still Patriotic Front Kasama Central Member of Parliament, says High Court Justice Florence Lengalenga

The Lady Justice in her judgment yesterday overturned National Assembly Speaker Patrick Matibini’s decision to declare Kasama Central Constituency vacant and maintained that the opposition party leader was still MP for the ruling party.

In her judgment, Ms Justice Lengalenga said Dr Matibini acted in excess of his powers when he declared the seat vacant which action was a prerogative of the courts of law.

The Lady Justice however ruled that the Speaker was right as he acted on a point of order raised during the business of the House, but that it was not his take to declare the seat vacant.

This was in a matter where Mr Mwamba sued the Attorney General on the decision by the Speaker of the National Assembly to declare his seat vacant, arguing that there were glaring inconsistencies which were also absolutely unconstitutional. Mr Mwamba had applied to the High Court for judicial review on the matter to restrain Parliament from expelling him from the House, as well as prevent the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) from holding a by election in Kasama Central constituency.

Dr Matibini declared the Kasama seat vacant after Mr Mwamba accepted a position in the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) as vice president for administration.

Mr Mwamba had argued that it was irrational for the Speaker to declare his seat vacant when the matter was pending before the courts of law, saying it was in total disregard of the judicial proceedings, citing an earlier injunction that restrained the Patriotic Front from expelling him from the party which sponsored his candidature in the 2011 parliamentary elections.

Mr Mwamba, fondly referred to as GBM, complained that it was discriminatory for the Speaker to usurp the powers of the judiciary more so after his earlier decisions pertaining to two other members of the legislature.

He explained that such was an illegal and excessive exercise of power which undermined the independent functions of the courts of law and ultimately interfered with the constitutional function under Article 91 (1) of the Constitution. In defence, the State had argued that Mr Mwamba lost his privileges as a PF Member of Parliament when he accepted the position of vice president in UPND.

They argued that Mr Mwamba was an elected MP under the PF and that he himself invalidated his position when he became UPND vice president for administration, adding that there was no matter to be decided by the courts when there was already a ruling by the National Assembly.

But the High Court has declared that Mr Mwamba maintains his position as Kasama Central MP, as well as awarded him costs in default.

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