PF central committee has no power to choose president – LAZ

The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) says the PF central Committee has no power to choose a party president or presidential candidate but that all such powers are vested in the National Conference.

LAZ gave acting president Guy Scott the letter this morning but the Watchdog managed to get a copy, somehow.

But Members of the Central Committee have hinted that they will reject the advice from LAZ as it’s an outside body and it’s views does not amount to a Court Interpretation or court order and that it favours the Cartel and Scott.

In yesterday’s meeting, Acting President Guy Scott abruptly cancelled the meeting and informed members that he will seek legal interpretation from LAZ.

But Members of the Central Committee have hinted that they will reject the advise from LAZ as it’s an outside body and it’s views does not amount to a Court Interpretation or court order. Central Committee members say the interpretation

LAZ has advised Scott to ignore all meetings held without his presence and without his authority.
LAZ has also advised Scott that a President who is also a Presidential Candidate can only be picked at the General Conference as provided for under Article 52.
LAZ has also advised that Central Committee has no powers to amend or alter the Constitution contrary to what members of the Central Committee are insisting.
LAZ has stated that the import of Article 58 (l) and (m) refer to rules and regulations and not constitutional provisions.
LAZ has also advised that after PF Secretary General files his nominations, he should be made to resign his position so that the Acting President will have full control of the Meeting on Thursday 20th November 2014.

But members of the Central Committee aligned to Edgar Lungu are wondering why Scott has ignored the PF Legal Committee, an adhoc legal team chaired by constitutional lawyer, Ngosa Simbyakula.

Below is the leaked Opinion from LAZ and given to Guy Scott.

The Central Committee shall have the following powers and functions:

“(L) Initiating and approving regulations and rules of the party.”
“(M) taking action which in the opinion of the Central Committee is in the best interest of the party.
The provisions under 58 (l) states that the Central Committee has powers to to amend rules and regulations.
In our view, it’s only rules and regulations.
Further Article 74
Lists regulations of the party. The regulations provide for issues such as conditions for membership, termination of membership, readmission, discipline, expulsion after conviction. These are the regulations that are referred to.
In our opinion these are the rules and regulations that the Central Committee can alter, initiate changes and/or approve matters under article 74.
In our view, Constitutional provisions override regulations and cannot be amended by sections 58 (l) and 58 (m).
The proposal by the Central Committee that they adopt the Presidential Candidate using or varying constitutional provisions in Article 52 is not attainable.
Our opinion is that
Article 71 states that Constitutional Amendments can only be done through the General Conference.
At its meeting of 13th November 2014, the Central Committee adopted PF Secretary General Edgar Lungu as the Party’s Presidential Candidate.
This is also Null and Void as the meeting did not meet the requirements of what a Central Committee Meeting should be as defined by the Constitution.
We have to define what constitutes a Central Committee Meeting as provided for in Article 58.
This also has to relate to the powers of the President as provided for under Articel 61.
Article 61 provides for the powers of the president is stated as follows;
” The president shall
(A) be the principal spokesperson of the party on national and international affairs;
(B)preside over meetings of the central committee.
(C) convene meetings of the central committee.
(J) take a decision or action which in his opinion is in the best interest of the party.”

In terms of article 54, the vice president takes over functions of president in the event of death of Party President.
In our view, this meeting should have been convened by the Acting President and chaired by him.
So meeting s held without authority of the President should be deemed null anf void as provided for in Artice 61.
The Acting President is empowrref by article 61 (j) to take any action which he feels is good for the party? Would going to General Conference not be good for the party? That is his absolute discretion.
We hold that Article 52 provides that a party President who is also a presidential by-election shall be elected at the General Conference and person who wins such party election will represent the party in the upcoming Presidential By- Election and election of the Republican President.

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