11 July 2017

Zambia: Semi State of Emergency Goes to Parliament

Vice President Inonge Wina is today expected to lay on the table of the house a motion to confirm and extend the declaration of a state of threatened public emergency by President Edgar Lungu.

The move will be in respect of the Zambian constitution that demands that the decision be reviewed by parliament within seven days.

In a parliament that has opposition parliamentarians suspended the move will just be a rubber stamp as ruling party members will be expected to tow the President's line.

Forty eight opposition Members of Parliament are suspended for one month for having boycotted President Edgar Lungu's address to the house.

The suspension took effect on June 13 and falls outside the season when parliament will be voting on the declaration by President Lungu.

President Lungu invoked article 31 of the constitution that paves the way for the possible declaration of a state of emergency.

The extension could vary from one month to three months and could still be up for review when that period lapses.

We share Article 31 below:

(1) The President may at any time by the Proclamation published in the Gazette declare that a situation exists which, if it is allowed to continue may lead to a state of public emergency.

(2) A declaration made under clause (1) of this Article shall cease to have effect on the expiration of a period of seven days commencing with the day on which the declaration is made unless, before the expiration of such period, it has been approved by a resolution of the National Assembly supported by a majority of all the members thereof not counting the Speaker.

(3) In reckoning any period of seven days for the purpose of clause (2) no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved.

(4) A declaration made under clause (1), may, at any time before it has been approved by a resolution of the National Assembly, be revoked by the President by Proclamation published in the Gazette.

(5) Subject to clause (6) a resolution of the National Assembly under clause (2) shall continue in force until the expiration of a period of three months commencing with the date of its being approved or until revoked on an earlier date of its being so approved or until such earlier date as may be specified in the resolution.

(6) The National Assembly may by resolution, at any time revoke a resolution made by it under this Article.

(7) Whenever an election to the office of President results in a change in the holder of that office, any declaration made underthis Article and in force immediately before the day on which the President assumes office, shall cease to have effect on the expiration of seven days commencing with that day.

(8) The expiration or revocation of any declaration or resolution made under this Article shall not affect the validity of anything previously done in reliance on such declaration.

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