Headless chickens: UPND discontinues state of emergence court challenge

THE UPND has discontinued a case in which they challenged President Edgar Lungu’s proclamation of a threatened state of public emergency in the Constitutional Court.

According to a notice filed by Dindi and Company, the UPND through their lawyers who also included Malambo and Company, Mwiimbu, Muleza and Associates, Lukona Chambers and Mushipe and Associates, stated that they sought to discontinue the matter henceforth, adding that service of the process had not been effected on the respondents because of the same reason.

In this case, UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka, who cited the Attorney General and the Speaker of the National Assembly, wanted the Constitutional Court to interpret Article 31(2) of the Constitution of Zambia.

He had submitted that it was unconstitutional for the National Assembly to convene for purpose of passing a resolution to approve the declaration in the absence of UPND members of parliament.

According to Katuka’s originating summons that were filed in court last Wednesday, he asked the court to determine whether Article 31(2) of the Constitution of Zambia (amendment) in general and in particular its usage of the words “…by majority of all members thereof” was so ambiguous, vague or absurd that it warrants for departing from the literal and purposive rule of interpretation.

He had also sought the court’s determination on whether the Speaker can convene National Assembly under Article 31(2) of the Constitution of Zambia in the absence of 46 suspended UPND members of parliament to approve by resolution President Lungu’s proclamation declaring that a situation existed which, if allowed to continue, might lead to a state of emergency as promulgated in Gazette Notice No. 448 of 2017 under Statutory Instrument No. 53 of 2017 dated July 5, 2017.

Katuka also sought an order to quash any decision or action by the Speaker to approve by a resolution the proclamation by the President.

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