Speaker cannot be faulted for receiving information on leader of the opposition- State

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THE State has submitted that the speaker of the national assembly is not legally mandated to question the internal election processes of a political party.

It said Nelly Mutti cannot be blamed for having been notified about the person selected to serve as leader of the opposition in parliament by the PF, or for consequently allowing the person selected to enjoy privileges of the said position.

This is in a matter where PF Moses Sakala has petitioned the party in the Constitutional Court over Mporokoso member of parliament Brian Mundubile’s illegal appointment as leader of the opposition.

The petitioner has cited party Secretary General Morgan Ng’ona and the Attorney General as respondents in the matter.

Sakala wants Mundubile to reimburse all the money and allowances he obtained as leader of opposition before he was dislodged from his position, since his appointment in 2021.

Sakala is seeking a declaration that the State through Mutti Contravened Article 74(2) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016, as well as Rule 43 of the National Assembly Standing Orders, by accepting the appointment of Mundubile, as leader of the opposition and allowing him to enjoy privileges attached to the said office.

He wants the Court to decree that the PF contravened the provisions of Article 60(2)(d) of the Constitution by failing to exercise internal democracy as provided for under the said Article.

Sakala is further seeking an order that all monies accrued by Mundubile, by virtue of his illegal tenure of office, be accounted for and recovered.

In its answer to the petition the State argued that Mutti never perpetuated unconstitutional Acts as the National Assembly has at all times complied with provisions of the Constitution.

It said the speaker of the National Assembly did not violate Article 74 (2) of the constitution and National Assembly standing order 43.

“The only requirement is for the speaker of the national assembly to be notified of the selection made by a political party in accordance with Article 74(2) of the constitution and Rule 43(2) of the National Assembly, standing orders of the National Assembly to Act upon the said notification,” the Attorney General argued.

“The practice in the appointment of previous leaders of opposition in the national assembly is that the opposition political party with the largest number of seats merely notifies the National Assembly of the person elected to that office.”

The State added that Sakala is not entitled to the reliefs prayed for and asked the Court to dismiss the petition with costs.

By Mwaka Ndawa

Kalemba January 30, 2024.

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