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FILE: HERITAGE Party president Brigadier General Godffrey Miyanda. PICTURE: COLLINS PHIRI.

ConCourt dismisses Miyanda’s petition

THE Constitutional Court has dismissed a petition filed by Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda in which he sought the court’s interpretation of some provisions in the amended Constitution which he alleged were inconsistent and did not represent the interests of Zambians.

Gen Miyanda, who is Heritage Party president, wanted the court to determine what he termed as breaches, inconsistencies, decisions or omissions contained in the 2016 amended Constitution.
In a judgment delivered on Friday by a bench of three judges headed by judge Annie Sitali, the court dismissed the petition but noted the case raised important constitutional arguments which were of great interest to the public.
“We wish to point out that the petition raises fundamental questions such as, ‘Can a constitutional amendment be unconstitutional?’. To allege, as the petitioner has done, that a constitutional provision is unconstitutional is to impute incoherence and inconsistency,” she stated.
In his petition, Gen. Miyanda charged that the amending of the preamble by introducing new words that significantly changed the character of the state and nation of Zambia, without the sanction of the people through a referendum, was inconsistent with the Constitution, and further that it was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.
Brig Gen Miyanda also stated that the decision by the executive to combine the holding of the general elections and the referendum at the same time was inconsistent with public policy, and further that it was based on improper considerations and was not reasonably justifiable in a democratic state.
However, justice Sitali said there was nothing in the Referendum Act that prohibited the holding of the referendum alongside the general elections.
“We therefore find no merit in the petitioner’s claims and we dismiss it accordingly,” she said.
Justice Sitali also dismissed claims by Gen Miyanda that the decision by the executive to direct the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to conduct the general election simultaneously with the referendum on August 11, 2016 was in bad faith and was inconsistent.
Justice Sitali said the petitioner’s claim that the announcement by the President in early 2016, that he had decided to dissolve Parliament in May 2016 was unconstitutional and contrary to article 81(5) (6) and (7) of the constitution, was premised on wrong provisions of the law and lacked merit.