By NATION REPORTER
THE Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has ruled Speaker of the National Assembly, Nelly Mutti out of order for effecting changes in the office of the Leader of Opposition based on an instruction from expelled Matero Member of Parliament Miles Sampa’s group.
And LAZ has condemned the continued arrests and detention of opposition political party leaders, stating that it was an affront to freedoms of expression and speech.
Lungisani Zulu, the LAZ president has said Speaker Mutti breached the Constitution when she recognised suspended Mafinga Member of Parliament Robert Chabinga as Leader of the Opposition in Parliament when there were matters pending in the courts of law. (To page 3)
Mr Zulu said yesterday at a press conference in Lusaka that Ms Mutti was not supposed to take any action immediately she was made aware that there was a worrying caution particularly that she was made aware that the matter was a subject of court action.
“Unfortunately, the conduct of various state institutions clearly demonstrate a narrative that the State is interested in legitimising the action of one faction of the Patriotic Front over the other, even when the matter is yet to be finally determined by the courts of law,” Mr Zulu said.
Mr Zulu said Speaker Mutti could not be making decisions based on exparte orders that had been made by the court and should therefore have waited until the matter was conclusively determined.
“There is no need to hurry, let the matter be determined by the court of law and at the end of it the court will guide and when finally, the court has determined the matter the final outcome will be taken to the Speaker and make a decision afterwards,” Mr Zulu said.
He said it was unfortunate that the Speaker could be making her own decisions on a matter that hinges on a very important constitutional issue which is the election of the Leader of Opposition.
Mr Zulu said according to LAZ, the matter was not an intra-party issue but a constitutional issue because the provisions of article 74 demanded that there must be an election for the Leader of Opposition in Parliament and that the Speaker was supposed to be satisfied that there was an election for Mr Chabinga supported by public documents.
He also condemned government for sanctioning Registrar of Societies Chief Registrar, Thandiwe Mhende, for producing a record of PF office bearers because it was done based on a subpoena and testificandum was requested by High Court Judge Mr Timothy Katenekwa.
Mr Zulu said such incidences have a danger of cowering public servants into doing illegal activities to please their superiors.
Mr Zulu expressed concern with the happenings in the PF but it does not justify interference by external stakeholders, including state institutions.