Court News

State defends presidential appointments in court

By GRACE CHAILE-LESOETSA
ATTORNEY General Likando Kalaluka has asked the Constitutional Court to dismiss a petition by three non- governmental grganisations (NGOs) seeking a declaration that the current composition of Cabinet and the provincial ministers is unconstitutional as it does not include the marginalised.

Mr Kalaluka states that President Edgar Lungu acted within the confines of the constitution in exercise of his executive function.
Chapter One Foundation Limited, the Non- Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Committee for Gender and Development Registered Trustees and Ms Harriet Chibuta suing in her capacity as executive director of Young Women in Action have cited the Attorney General as the respondent in the matter.
They contend that the actions of President Lungu in nominating the MPs and appointing the cabinet and provincial ministers, neither reflect the gender parity considerations nor the equitable representation of youths nor disabled persons as contemplated by the constitution.
According to the NGOs, the Head of State acted in an unconstitutional manner. The three stated that despite Parliament comprising 29 women, two youths and one person with disabilities, none of the 10 appointed provincial ministers is a woman, youth or person with disabilities.
They stated in the petition that of the 30 appointed cabinet ministers, only nine are female and none are either youths or persons with disabilities.
They want the court to make an order of mandamus directing President Lungu 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 appoint new members to comply with the provisions of Article 259 of the Constitution.
But in response to the petition, the Attorney General argued that article 259(i) of the Constitution makes it the prerogative of the President to nominate or appoint any person to a public office.
He stated that the proviso to article 259 (1)(b) which reads “unless it is not practicable to do so” connotes that for a 50 percent gender split on nominations and appointments as Cabinet ministers and provincial ministers to be done, these appointments must be “practicable” to the appointment

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