The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) says convicted criminal Steven Masumba can remain an MP as he awaits his appeal to be handled by the High Court.
Laz president James Banda explained that the law allows Masumba to remain an MP now that he has appealed but that he cannot preform the functions of MP and cannot receive a salary.
The LAZ leader was explaining the effect of Masumba’s conviction for forging a NIPA diploma and subsequent imprisonment for one year.
Masumba is the MP for Mufumbwe in Northwestern province and was until a day ago working as the PF deputy minster for sports.
Banda explained that had Masumba not appealed, he would have been required to vacate his office immedtaely provision of the ‘…under article 71(2) (e) of the Zambian Constitution, a Member of the National Assembly shall vacate his seat in Parliament where, among other causes, he is sentenced by a court in Zambia to death, or to imprisonment, by whatever name called, for a term exceeding six months,’ explained Banda.
‘However, where the convict appeals against the decision of the court, article 71(3) of the Constitution provides that the requirement to vacate ones sit as MP shall not have effect until the final determination of such appeal. The Constitution also adds that where such convicted MP has appealed to a higher Court he cannot perform his functions as an MP and he cannot receive any remuneration as a member of the National Assembly’ Banda added.
But, Banda said LAZ is of the view, that for as long as Masumba remains a convict, the honorable thing for him to do is to resign his position as an MP.
He said the Constitutional provision which allows a convicted MP to continue as such pending his appeals only works well in a society where the Court system is not inundated with many cases as is the case in Zambia.
‘ It is a notorious fact that matters in Court at times take long to conclude.
‘It is our position that the Hon. Masumba reconsiders his position seriously and puts the interests of his constituency ahead of his so that they are not denied their constitutional right to be represented in the National Assembly for a long period, possibly even up to 2016,’ Banda advised.