The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has received several press queries regarding the legality or constitutionality, of the Vice-President and Cabinet ministers retaining their positions after the dissolution of Parliament. The said queries have arisen due to the fact that Parliament is due to dissolve and there is no clarity on some seemingly contradictory provisions in the Constitution as amended by Act No. 2 of 2016 (hereinafter referred to as the Constitution) contained in Articles 72(1), Article 116(1) and 116(3).
Article 116(1) states that:
”116. (1) The President shall appoint a prescribed number of Members of Parliament as Ministers.”
Article 72(1) provides as follows:
”72. (1) A member of Parliament shall, except the Speaker and the First Deputy Speaker, vacate the seat in the National Assembly upon a dissolution of Parliament.”
On the other hand, Article 116(3) of the Constitution States that:
The office of Minister becomes vacant if:
(a) the Minister is removed from office by the President;
(b) the Minister resigns, by notice in writing to the President;
(c) in the case of a nominated Member of Parliament, the nomination is revoked;
(d) the Minister dies
(e) another person assumes the office of President; or
(f) the Minister has a mental or physical disability that makes the Minister incapable of performing the functions of that office.
On reading Article 116(1) together with Article 72(1), LAZ is of the view that once Parliament has been dissolved, a Minister appointed from the members of Parliament or a nominated Member of Parliament no longer qualifies to hold the position of Minister.
Read the full statement by clicking the link below: