UPND Chirundu member of parliament Douglas Syakalima has asked the Lusaka High Court to grant him an order to suspend operations of the National Dialogue Forum on the constitution, electoral process, public order and political parties Act No.1 of 2019 pending the determination of his petition.
Syakalima in his petition filed in the Lusaka High Court Registry prays for a declaration and order that the provisions of sections 3(h) , 5 ,6 (2) ,17 (1) (a) and (b) of the national dialogue on the constitution, electoral process, public order and Political parties Act No. 1 of 2019 are in violation of his rights and freedoms in terms of Articles 11, 14, 18, 19, 20 , 21, 23 of the constitution of Zambia .
He has also prayed for a declaration and Order that the provisions of sections 3 (h) ,5 ,6 (2) 12, 17 , (1) (a) and (b) and 18 (1) (a) of the national dialogue ( constitution , electoral process, Public Order and Political parties Act No. 1 of 2019 are in conflict with the provisions of Articles 11, 14 , 18 , 19, 20 , 21 , 23 of the constitution of Zambia and therefore null and void .
He further wants any other remedies which the court may deem fit.
Syakalima has also dragged the Attorney General in the matter, whom he has cited to bear the costs of and occasioned by his action.
In his petition, Syakalima, who has sued the Attorney General Likando Kalaluka, has submitted that he at all material times participated in deliberations and readings before the National Assembly and unequivocally opposed the passing into law of the national dialogue Act No .1 of 2019 on grounds, among others, that it was an affront to democracy and constitutionalism as enshrined in the Republican Constitution.
He adds that he was also made aware of a publication by Special Assistant to the President Amos Chanda that the said Act was assented into law by President Edgar Lungu on April 9, 2019 .
Syakalima further submits that he is alive to the fact that the Act makes it mandatory for him to be a member of the National Dialogue Forum, adding that the Act attempts to override his right and freedom to assemble and associate with his membership to a political party of his choice “and its governing rules and regulations in so far as the Act proscribes against all administrative and political actions that are likely to adversely hinder the operation and success of the review process of various statutes as prescribed in the Act”.
He adds that he is also aware that the Act does not provide for the resignation from the forum as established by virtue of being a member of parliament, which he said is discriminatory and in clear violation of his rights against forced labour as enshrined in the Republican Constitution.
“…the petitioner contends that various fundamental rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution Amendment of 2016 have been, are being and are likely to be violated by the enforcement of the provisions of the Act in which section 3 (h), among other sections, violate his rights and freedom of Assembly and to associate with members of his political party and to take a uniform principled position, whether to or not participate in deliberations of the forum within the confines of the rules and regulations of his party membership as enshrined in Article 21 of the Zambian Constitution,” he has stated.