Opposition challenges emergency rule
Publish date: 17 July 2017
Issue Number: 734
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Zambia's opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) has challenged Parliament for endorsing government’s decision to invoke Article 31 of the Constitution to implement emergency rule, saying the decision was ill-conceived. As previously reported in Legalbrief Today, parliament last week voted to extend the state of emergency by three months. The Lusaka Times reports that President Edgar Lungu invoked the emergency powers the week before last to deal with 'acts of sabotage' by his political opponents, after a fire gutted the country's biggest marketplace. In an affidavit filed in the Constitutional Court, UPND secretary-general Stephen Katuta claims the decision is a scheme calculated to disenfranchise 46 suspended MPs and their respective constituencies from participating in matters of national importance. He submitted that the Speaker of the National Assembly had called the motion in the absence of the suspended MPs. 'By reason of the foregoing, I have filed an originating summons to call for the interpretation of Article 31(2) of the Constitution of Zambia and impugn the decision of the Speaker to proceed in the absence of the UPND members of parliament to approve the declaration,' Katuka said, according to the report.