The 4th session of the 12th, National Assembly which was abruptly adjourned sine die due to the outbreak of the coronavirus has resumed today.
Before business started, the Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini, immediately informed the house to take advantage of the COVID-19 facilities at Parliament building in light of the pandemic.
And opening the parliamentary proceedings, Dr Matibini explained that the National Assembly has powers to preside over some of the internal matters arising from the proceedings of the house, citing the decision by the Constitutional Court to over throw his ruling on the Roan Constituency matter.
This is a matter where the constitutional court stated that the Speaker breached the Constitution when he interpreted that Chishimba Kambwili crossed the floor by being a “Consultant” of the opposition NDC.
“The Speaker has a mandate to interpret the law and the republican constitution. And the Constitutional Court recognises some decisions of the National Assembly on its powers and privileges act, because the National Assembly has the power and jurisdiction over the conduct of its internal affairs,” Dr Matibini stated.
“I will begin a ruling by getting to the case of Dr Kambwili and the Attorney General, the petition was filed to the Constitutional court challenging my decision of February 27, 2019, where I declared the Roan parliamentary seat vacant,” the speaker added.
Dr Matibini further stressed that the speaker does not adjudicate on matters, but merely provide guidance on issues patterning to the business of the house, stating that the decisions of the National Assembly are amendable to judicial review.
The other matter the speaker presided on was a point of order raised by United Party for National Development (UPND), Mazabuka law maker during the last sittings, seeking to impeach President Edgar Lungu over accusations of breaching the constitution.
The opposition argues President Lungu violated the constitution in 2016 when it challenged his election victory in court, alleging electoral fraud, a claim the government denied.
The opposition believes that under the constitution, the president should, when faced with a legal challenge of this kind, hand over power to the speaker of the National Assembly until the court makes a decision.
Ruling on the two matters was deferred as the proceedings were adjourned to the next seating due to limited time, following the new guidelines due to COVID-19.
During the proceedings of the house, Members of Parliament adhered to the health guidelines by ensuring that they were all wearing masks, sat a meter apart while observing hygiene rules.