The Constitutional Court has been petitioned by three non-governmental organization who are demanding a declaration that the current composition of Cabinet and provincial ministers is unconstitutional.
The three organisations – Chapter One Foundation Limited, the Non-Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Committee for Gender Development Registered Trustees and Young Women in Action – also want a declaration that the President did not adopt a procedure which ensured gender parity in the nomination and appointment of members of parliament and making the ministerial appointments relative to the current provincial and Cabinet ministers.
The NGOs have filed the petition through former Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Linda Kasonde’s law firm LCK Chambers.
The three NGOs are arguing that the President contravened Article 259 (1) (b) of the Constitution, equitable representation of persons with disabilities in the nomination and appointment of provincial and Cabinet ministers as contemplated in, and in contravention of Article 259 (1) (c) of the Constitution.
“That the court make an order of mandamus directing the President to use his power under Article 72 (3) (f) to revoke the nomination of all or some of the members of parliament he nominated and nominate new members to comply with the provisions of Article 259 of the Constitution,” they submitted.
The NGOs further wants the court to issue an order of mandamus directing the President to, within 90 days reconstitute the Cabinet by the powers vested in him by the Constitution to align the appointment procedures and composition of the Cabinet with the Constitutional requirements outlined in Article 259 of the Constitution.
The petitioners stated that following the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2016, President Edgar Lungu nominated members of parliament and appointed Cabinet and provincial ministers pursuant to Article 116 (1) and 117 (1) of the Constitution.
“That at present, they are 169 members of parliament and at least 29, two and one are female, youths and with disabilities,” they stated.
They stated further that the President nominated eight people to be members of parliament pursuant to his powers under Article 69 (1) of the Constitution and only two out of the eight nominees were women and none were either youths as defined by the Constitution, or people with disabilities.
They further stated that the President as also a various times appointed provincial and Cabinet ministers per his mandate in Article 116 (1) and 117 (1) of the Constitution.
“Despite the members of parliament comprising of 29 women, two youths and one person with a disability, none of the 10 appointed provincial ministers is a woman, youth or person with disabilities,” the petition read further.