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Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

This is our country, and we will not allow a few greedy and unfeeling individuals to create anarchy - Public Affairs Committee

The Public Affairs Committee (Pac) has instructed its lawyers to challenge the constitutionality of impeachment procedures the National Assembly approved on Thursday.
But UDF says Pac has overstepped its limits.
Soon after the procedures went through in the House, a Pac official said he was writing instructions to the organisation’s lawyer to obtain a court injunction stopping the implementation of the procedures until a judicial review was held.
“Now that the procedures have been confirmed by the National Assembly, we are going to court. It is our strong belief that the procedures have not captured exhaustively the principles of natural justice as enshrined in the Constitution.
“Because proponents of these procedures were working against an obvious set deadline, they bulldozed the process and left out very key and critical constitutional tenets,” said the official. “If all goes well we will be in court this afternoon.”
Pac publicity secretary Maurice Munthali confirmed the development yesterday, saying apart from obtaining the injunction, Pac will challenge the whole impeachment process.
“Yes, the instructions have been given to lawyers that an injunction should be obtained to stop this nonsense. My chairman told me that he has consulted board members, and a considerable number of us agreed a court order be obtained. These selfish MPs must not be allowed to get away with this rubbish,” said Munthali.
“And, as Pac, we are ready to take them head on throughout the impeachment process. This is our country, and we will not allow a few greedy and unfeeling individuals to create anarchy,” he added.
Two days ago, Pac chair Boniface Tamani said his organisation will also challenge the National Governing Council in court.
“This National Assembly is sick and on a life support machine,” said Tamani. “But we will show them the futility of pursuing personal agendas in the House instead of representing the people.”
Reacting to Pac’s move, UDF spokesman Sam Mpasu Thursday afternoon said Pac had overstepped its limits.
“Pac should know what its powers are and what those of the National Assembly are. Pac is a private organisation while the National Assembly is a public institution.
“A private organisation cannot stop Parliament from doing its work, just as it can not stop the Judiciary or the Executive from doing its work.
“In this case, I do not see any sane judge stopping Parliament from doing its work because legislative supremacy is vested in the Legislature,” said Mpasu. “I am saying not even the Judiciary can stop Parliament from doing its work.”

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