LAZ explains legal implications in Masumba’s conviction

James Banda

James Banda

The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has received numerous queries from the members of the public and from the press on what the effect of the conviction of Honourable Stephen Masumba is on his Constitutional Office as a Member of Parliament.

Firstly, we recommend the Republican President for relieving Honourable Stephen Masumba of his portfolio as Deputy Minister. This is in accordance with Article 44 of the Constitution of Zambia which requires the President to ensure that his duties are performed with dignity.

Having a convict serve in in the executive would have been a clear affront to this provision of the Constitution.

Further, under article 71(2) (e) of the Zambian Constitution, a Member of the National Assembly shall vacate his seat in Parliament where, among other causes, he is sentenced by a court in Zambia to death, or to imprisonment, by whatever name called, for a term exceeding six months.

However, where the convict appeals against the decision of the court, article 71(3) of the Constitution provides that the requirement to vacate one’s sit as MP shall not have effect until the final determination of such appeal. The Constitution also adds that where such convicted MP has appealed to a higher Court he cannot perform his functions as an MP and he cannot receive any remuneration as a member of the National Assembly.

Members of the press and the general public are advised that as from the date when Honourable Masumba filed his appeal against the judgment of the Subordinate Court, he still remains an eligible Member of the National Assembly until his appeal is determined.

LAZ however, takes the view, that for as long as Hon. Masumba remains a convict, the honorable thing for him to do is to resign his position as an MP. The Constitutional provision which allows a convicted MP to continue as such pending his appeals only works well in a society where the Court system is not inundated with many cases as is the case in Zambia.

It is a notorious fact that matters in Court at times take long to conclude. It is our position that the Hon. Masumba reconsiders his position seriously and puts the interests of his constituency ahead of his so that they are not denied their constitutional right to be represented in the National Assembly for a long period, possibly even up to 2016.

James Banda