HERITAGE Party (HP) president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda has asked the Constitutional Court to declare as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void the process used to arrive at the amended Constitution.
According to the petition, Gen. Miyanda is contending that the amended Constitution left out the participation of Zambians through a referendum to give themselves the document according to the law.
He stated that according to constitutional provisions, Zambia was supposed to go to a referendum before the President could assent to the draft document for it to become a Constitution.
Gen Miyanda also contended that the amendment of the preamble was also unconstitutional because Zambians did not sanction its change since no referendum was held that warranted such an amendment.
“The purported adoption of the Constitution by the people of Zambia, as alleged by the following amending words, WE THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA…. DO HEREBY ADOPT AND GIVE OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.” is inconsistent with and contravenes the Constitution in that no referendum has been conducted under the Referendum Act Cap 14 for the people of Zambia for the said amended Constitution before or by the time the President assented to the said Acts 1 and 2 of 2016 on 5th January.
“Hence, the alleged adoption by the people of Zambia of the amended Constitution through the referendum is unconstitutional, illegal, null, and void. The purported amendment of the preamble by introducing new words that significantly change the character of the State of the nation of Zambia, without the sanctioning of the Zambian people through the referendum held under the Referendum Act Cap 14, is inconsistent with the Constitution, and further, it is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void,” the petition read in part.
He contends that the decision by the Executive to combine the holding of the general election with the referendum at the same time is inconsistent with public policy and that is based upon improper considerations and is not reasonably justifiable in a democratic State.
He said the decision by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to hold the general election simultaneously with the referendum this year was in bad faith and inconsistent with the spirit of Article 76 and Cap 14 of the Constitution and noted that the amendments were irregular and wrongful as they intended to deceive, confuse and improperly disfranchise many eligible voters.
He also said the announcement by President Edgar Lungu that he would dissolve Parliament in May was unconstitutional and was inconsistent with and/or contravenes Article 81(5), (6) and (7) of the Constitution as amended.
He also said the pronouncement by President Lungu that he would not assent to any amendments to the Grade 12 qualification if presented to him by the National Assembly was inconsistent with Article 66 of the amended Constitution.