Chilanga Seat Declared Vacant Following MPs Murder Conviction

Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has defended his decision to declare the Chilanga Parliamentary seat vacant following the conviction of former area Member of Parliament Keith Mukata for murder.

Dr. Matibini told Parliament that he is obliged by the Republican Constitution to write to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) informing them of the vacancy in Chilanga Constituency.

He explained that the amended constitution no longer allows a Member of Parliament who is serving a prison sentence pending appeal to continue holding the seat.

Dr. Matibini cited among others Article 70 (2) (f) of the constitution which states that a person is disqualified from being elected as a Member of Parliament if the person is serving a sentence of imprisonment for an offence under a written law.

He further said that in the case of Mr. Mukata, a certificate of death sentence is sufficient evidence that he is serving a prison sentence therefore, his disqualification.

Dr. Matibini stated that he informed the ECZ of the vacancy in Chilanga in accordance with Article 72(8) which states that where a vacancy occurs in the National Assembly, the Speaker shall, within seven days of the occurrence of the vacancy, inform the Electoral Commission of Zambia of the vacancy, in writing, and a by-election shall be held in accordance with Article 57.

The Speaker was reacting to accusations of bias with regards to the declaration of seats vacant for Members of Parliament facing court cases.

Meanwhile, Dr. Matibini has reprimanded Roan Member of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili for failing to provide evidence to back his allegations that Home Affairs Minister Steven Kampyongo received three vehicles from Mr. Bokani Soko of GrandView as gratification for awarding the tender for the supply of the fire tenders to the company when he served as Local Government Minister.

Mr. Kambwili who stood by his allegations when he appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on privileges, absences and support services however, declined to avail the evidence he claims to have to the committee.

Mr. Kambwili who was not present during proceedings will be required to tender an apology to the house.

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