LAZ petitions State over ministers staying in office

THE Law Association of Zambia (LAZ)  has filed a petition in the Constitutional Court over Government’s decision to maintain Cabinet ministers and their deputies in office after the dissolution of Parliament on May 13, 2016.

According to an affidavit in support of an ex-parte application for interim relief filed by the LAZ president, Linda Kasonde, the 65 respondents who included

Cabinet ministers,  deputy ministers and 10 provincial ministers were appointed on the basis of their qualification as Members of Parliament elected or appointed to the National Assembly.

Ms Kasonde said the dissolution of Parliament in line with Article 72 and 88 of the Constitution before the enactment of the amended Constitution Act No. 2 meant that ministers, deputies and provintial ministers ceased to be MPs and therefore were required to vacate their respective offices.

“That the respondents were each appointed to the position of ministers, deputy ministers or provincial ministers on the basis of the qualification that they were Members of Parliament or were appointed having been made nominated Members of Parliament.

“That by virtue of the dissolution of Parliament on or about 13th May 2016, in line with Article 72 and 88 of the Constitution before the enactment of the Constitution of Zambia Act No. 2 of 5th January 2016 amendment of the ministers and provincial ministers, who are the 1st to 24 respondents, and the 56th to 64th respondents, respectively, ceased to be Members of the Parliament and therefore were required to vacate their respective ministerial offices,” she said.

Ms Kasonde explained that deputy ministers, having been appointed under the provisions of Article 47 of the Constitution prior to the enactment of the new law under Act No. 2 of 2016, ceased to be entitled to hold their offices.

She said even the Attorney General Likando Kalaluka advised the nation during a Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) programme that ministers and deputy ministers ceased to be so and would vacate office once Parliament was dissolved.

She added that “in spite of the position taken by the learned Attorney General and the clear provisions of the Constitution as amended by Act No. 2 of 2016, the respondents decided to continue holding office”.

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