Wednesday, December 7

Court ruling a sanitization of impunity – Namalomba

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Member of Parliament Shadric Namalomba has described the High Court ruling delivered in his judicial review case against Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa as a sanitization of impunity.

On Thursday, Judge Mzonde Mvula threw out the application saying it sounds like a conduct of a cry baby, before condemning him with costs.

Soon after the ruling, Namalomba, a Mangochi South West MP posted on his Facebook account acknowledging his loss of the court battle and also questioning the Court order.

“I have lost the case today. Sometimes you win and more often you lose. That’s what life ought to be. It’s a sad day for the rule of law. This judgment is sanitizing that impunity in Parliament is legally accepted. That you can abuse one another, kill and get killed etc., the courts will not step in because Parliament has got those privileges. The truth will set us all free,” said Namalomba

He accused Nankhumwa of moving him from seat 25 to seat 100, appointing a shadow cabinet without consultation with and approval of the party and the decision of the defendant appointing parliamentary spokespersons without consultation with and approval of the party.

However, Nankhumwa argued that Namalomba has sued a wrong party because according to the law, Standing Orders of Paliament do not recognize allocation of seats but they recognize reservation of seat or put simply how a seat should be reserved for Member of Parliament.

“Whither nomen clature is used, the task is performed by the Speaker of the National Assembly. On a more serious footing, the function of the Speaker of Parliament to reserve seats to Members of Parliament should not be amenable to Judicial Review.

“Moreover, the claimant (Namalomba) came to court without exhausting internal alterative remedies available. He wrote the Speaker on 17th February 2022 over reservation of seats. He is yet to get a response to that. The interim orders that the claimant obtained went outside the scope. In any event, the application for Judicial Review was made while Parliament was in session to effect that session of 4 Parliament where the Leader of Opposition requested Speaker on fresh sitting arrangement in Parliament. This violates Parliamentary privilege for which the leave for Judicial Review should be dismissed with costs,” he argued

Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda argued that reservations of seats and appointments into Committees in Parliament are administrative, they were already decided as not justiciable and the Court therefore should be slow to interfere in such affairs

“The Defendant (Nankhumwa) does not reserve seats in Parliament. It is the Speaker who seats Members in Parliament. In so far as there is challenge to reserve a seat, the action cannot be brought against the Defendant but the Speaker. The request for such allocation or reserve by the Defendant cannot be amenable to Judicial Review. The matters raised by the Claimant are internal in Parliament, based on intra party politics. Therefore, not justiciable,” he said

In his order, Judge Mvula noted that Parliament enjoys privileges which are essential for the conduct of business of Parliament while at the same time, maintaining its authority.

“This freedom to conduct own proceedings without interference let alone intervention from outside bodies makes Parliament function, without anyone putting spanners in its mandate. Looking at the extent Parliament enjoys privilege, unless the issue raised by the Claimant is constitutional in nature, he cannot rush to court to stop a purely political matter. Parliament has other internal offices in the Chamber such as Leader of the House, Government Chief Whip and Leader of opposition, which invariably make political decisions in the house,” reads part of his order

On whether the Court can intervene in intra political party disputes and indoor management of political party matters, Mvula said politics is for politicians.

He further said reserving seat 99 or 100 does not limit Namalomba’s right to political participation, nor is it discriminatory in any way.

“This angle followed by the Claimant sounds like conduct of a cry baby. This issue is not legal in nature. The Leader of Opposition in formation of shadow cabinet and possibly composition of committees, may consult the rank and file of the party hierarchy. By consulting, he is not bound under any law, to take wishes of the Second Interested Party (DPP). He may have that at the back of his mind.

“The Claimant has used the back door against Parliamentary privilege. By the same back door he is booted out from the High Court of justice,” reads part of the order

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