SEVERAL civil society organisations say the trend by ruling party members of parliament threatening the impeachment of sitting LAZ presidents whenever they follow their statutory mandate to defend the Constitution, constitutionalism and the rule of law is regrettable.
ActionAid-Zambia, Alliance for Community Action, Caritas Zambia, Centre for Trade Policy and Development, Chapter One Foundation, CISCA, and Transparency International Zambia stated yesterday that they had perused the petition submitted to the Constitutional Court by John Sangwa’s law firm and were of the view that the case presented had merit.
“We therefore intend to join the case in defence of the Constitution and in solidarity with the Law Association of Zambia,” the CSOs said in a statement signed by Chapter One Foundation executive director Linda Kasonde.
They condemned the spurious attacks by Patriotic Front member of parliament and deputy chief whip Tutwa Ngulube on Law Association of Zambia president Eddie Mwitwa and John Sangwa, the lawyer representing LAZ in the case challenging the proposed enactment of the Constitution Amendment Bill No. 10 of 2019.
“LAZ has a statutory mandate under Section 4 of the Law Association of Zambia Act to promote and defend constitutionalism and the rule of law and indeed every qualified lawyer in Zambia has taken an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. Subsequently, the suggestion that the petition has been filed because Mr Mwitwa and Mr Sangwa SC [State Counsel] support the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) has no basis,” they stated.
The CSOs stated that equally unfortunate were statements by Ngulube threatening to move a motion to have the LAZ president impeached and to have Sangwa’s rank and status as State Counsel stripped for taking the case to the Constitutional Court.
“We are of the view that if Mr Ngulube feels strongly about the case challenging the Constitution Amendment Bill then the appropriate channel to address his grievances with it are the courts of law,” they stated. “It shows that such members of parliament are not prepared to respect the institutions that serve the wider national interest and are not prepared to defend their argument without resorting to measures that are inimical to freedom of expression and the principles of democracy. We have perused the 101-paged petition submitted to the Constitutional Court by Mr Sangwa SC’s law firm and we are of the view that the case presented has merit. We therefore intend to join the case in defence of the Constitution and in solidarity with the Law Association of Zambia.”