CAROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka
UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) vice-president for administration Geoffrey Mwamba has maintained that he is still a member of the Patriotic Front (PF) and has asked the High Court to stop Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini from declaring his seat vacant.
Mr Mwamba said he notified Dr Matibini of cases before the courts regarding his membership to the PF and that the Speaker was legitimately expected to refer any questions relating to the vacancy of the Kasama Central parliamentary seat to the High Court.
â€œAt no particular time did I ever cease to be a member of the PF. I was and still am a member of the Patriotic Front (PF) party,â€ Mr Mwamba said.
He argued that Dr Matibini has in the past referred the declaration of parliamentary seats as vacant to the courts of the law.
Mr Mwamba argues that his case is distinguishable on grounds that ruling on a point of order was reserved to a known date and that he only filed a petition after the ruling was made.
He said the power to determine matters relating to whether a parliamentary seat is vacant is vested in the High Court.
Mr Mwamba argues that despite the National Assembly having its own procedures, such procedures are subject to the constitution.
Mr Mwamba said the essence of staying the decision by Dr Matibini to declare his seat vacant is to ensure that the judicial process is effective and to maintain the status quo of the parties until determination of the case.
He said the position by Dr Matibini that there is nothing to stay is misconceived as the granting of the stay will ensure that his rights to remain a member of Parliament are not violated or interfered with and render the proceedings nugatory in the event that the case is determined in his favour.
Mr Mwamba also contended that he urgently requires the court to grant him a stay as Dr Matibini has written to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to set the dates for a parliamentary by-election for the Kasama Central seat.
â€œI strongly believe that a greater risk shall lie to my detriment if a stay is not granted as I will suffer irreparable harm and unfair prejudice and the grant of a stay shall maintain the status quo of the parties,â€ he said.
Mr Mwamba said the stay will avoid irreparable harm as he intends to recontest the Kasama Central seat.
Dr Matibini on July 28 declared the seat vacant on account that Mr Mwamba had joined the UPND, as the constitution does not provide for dual party membership.
CAROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka