…there is no provision for dual party membership in Parliament
UPND vice president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba has been blocked from sitting in the National Assembly after the State obtained a stay of execution of the judgment which allowed him to retain his Kasama Central parliamentary seat.
The State has since appealed to the Supreme Court over the ruling of the High Court which allowed Mr Mwamba to retain his Kasama Central seat.
In granting the stay, Lusaka High Court Justice Florence Lengalenga said there was no provision in the Republican Constitution that allowed Mr Mwamba to sit in the National Assembly as a Patriotic Front (PF) member of Parliament when he was opposition UPND vice president.
She said the court was satisfied with the arguments filed in support of the application for the stay.
“This is satisfactory to the court more especially because of the grounds advanced that the likely situation where the applicant (Mr Mwamba) appears in the National Assembly to attend sittings as a PF member and UPND vice president would indeed create a serious predicament as there is no provision for dual membership under the Zambian Constitution.
“For the reasons advanced, I find the grounds or reasons satisfactory and compelling enough to merit the grant of the relief sought,” she said.
She said the reason of the Solicitor General to stay the March 23 2016 judgment would maintain the status quo as suggested by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Matibini, who declared Kasama Central constituency vacant.
This was after Mr Mwamba crossed the floor from the ruling PF and accepted the position of vice president in Zambia’s leading opposition party, UPND.
The Attorney General’s office contested the High Court judgment which declared Mr Mwamba, popularly known as GBM was the ruling party MP for Kasama Central constituency.
The State argued that the court below erred when Lady Justice Lengalenga declared in her judgment that the Speaker’s decision was null and void, including the awarding of the applicant’s emoluments, and appealed the judgment to the Supreme Court.
Solicitor General Abraham Mwansa making an ex-parte application explained that pursuant to Rule 51 of the Supreme Court, it would create ambiguity in the event that the applicant attended the session of the National Assembly as MP and a member of the PF.
“The law does not allow dual membership of political parties for the honourable members of the National Assembly.
“It is therefore desirable and we beseech the court’s indulgence that a stay be granted pending the outcome of the appeal to the Supreme Court,” he said.
In her earlier judgment, 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.
Mr Mwamba had earlier applied for judicial review 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 his constituency.
But Speaker Matibini had declared the seat vacant owing to Mr Mwamba’s acceptance of a position in the opposition UPND.