Saturday, December 29, 2007

Miyanda against 'lowering' of political parties in NCC Act

Miyanda against 'lowering' of political parties in NCC Act
By Mutuna Chanda
Saturday December 29, 2007 [03:00]

HERITAGE Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda yesterday told the Lusaka High Court that his party does not support the apparent subordination of registered political parties to an NGO. And Attorney General Mumba Malila has applied to the Lusaka High Court to get rid of part of Heritage Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda’s petition on the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) Act.

This was in a matter in which Brigadier General Miyanda has petitioned the NCC Act in the Lusaka High Court arguing that it was discriminatory.

In his opening statement at the start of hearing of his petition, Brig Gen Miyanda said that the petition was about showing that his rights and that of members of his party had been breached.

He said fundamental rights that were guaranteed by the constitution could not be altered by any process shorter than that which was required in amending the constitution.

“We shall lead evidence to show that the respondent (the state) has breached a number of constitutional provisions guaranteed by part III of the Republican constitution,” he said.

“It will be our case that while ordinary rights may be changed by the legislature in its ordinary process of legislation, fundamental rights and freedoms being guaranteed in our constitution cannot be altered by any process shorter than that which is required in amending the constitution itself.”

He said that his case was that the state enacted a law that, in ‘the vague manner in which it is couched’, had interfered with the rights and freedoms of the petitioners to participate in the NCC.

“This petition is not about objecting to political parties that have willingly come together under the Zambia Centre for Inter party Dialogue (ZCID) trust deed registered under the lands perpetual Succession Act,” he said.

Brig Gen Miyanda said he believed that part of his rights had been breached as a result of the mention of the ZCID in the NCC Act.

“We shall be taking issue with the special or particular place that ZCID has acquired under the NCC Act. This ZCID phenomenon is a new development on our political stage.”

And Malila in response applied for part of the petition to be gotten rid of on grounds that it did not specify the protective provisions of the constitution that the NCC Act was in contravention of.

“The argument is that it is not sufficient for the petitioner to merely allege that provisions of an act of Parliament are in conflict with provisions of the constitution for the court to exercise its special jurisdiction conferred on it by article 28 of the constitution,” Malila said.

“The petitioner (Brig Gen Miyanda) must indicate which articles of the constitution i.e. from 11 to 26, have been infringed. In the petition before this court, it is clear that paragraphs 4(c), 4(d), 4(e) and 4(g) make general allegations of the NCC Act being in conflict with the spirit of the constitution without specifying the individual protective provisions that they are in conflict with.”

Malila asked the court to declare the paragraphs that did not specify the protective provisions of the constitution that had been violated outside the court’s special jurisdiction under article 28 of the constitution and that they be expunged from the petition.

In response Brig Gen Miyanda sought a consent adjournment of the matter after consultations with Malila since he did not expect the state’s submissions.
Judge Mwanamwambwa adjourned the matter to January 7 to 11, 2008.

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