The Constitutional Court on 18th February 2020 rendered its judgment in the case of Chishimba Kambwili v Attorney General 2019/CCZ/009. The petitioner, then an estranged Member of Parliament for the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), had his seat declared vacant in February 2019 by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Matibini, on the ground that by acting as a consultant for an opposition party (under which he was not elected to Parliament), he had crossed the floor.
The Constitutional Court found the action of the Speaker to have been unconstitutional as the office is not vested with power to interpret or resolve constitutional problems. This power is vested in the judiciary and the Speaker, therefore, usurped the powers of the judiciary. However, despite finding that the Speaker acted unconstitutionally in unseating the petitioner, the Constitutional Court dismissed the petition and declined to grant any remedy. This commentary argues that the decision of the Constitutional Court in this respect is incorrect, negates the supremacy of the Constitution and demonstrates lack of appreciation of basic considerations for constitutional adjudication.
Kaaba, O'Brien and Sambo, Pamela T.
"Chishimba Kambwili v Attorney General 2019/CC/009,"
SAIPAR Case Review: Vol. 3:
1, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/scr/vol3/iss1/7