• Legislature
  • Judiciary
  • Constitution
Location

The Parliament buildings are situated on Parliament road, off the Great East Road on the crown of a low hill east of the central business district of Lusaka. The Buildings are easily accessible by public transport as the Great East Road is one of the busiest commuter routes in the city. The notable developments in the vicinity are the Manda Hill and Arcades shopping malls, the Agricultural and Commercial Show Society Showgrounds, and the Mulungushi International Conference Center.

The first meeting of the Northern Rhodesia Parliament took place on 23rd May 1924 in Livingstone, the first capital of Northern Rhodesia. The Parliament elected in December 2001 was the twentieth Parliament to have been elected since the parliamentary government began in Zambia. This makes the Zambian Parliament one of the oldest continuously functioning legislatures in the Southern African Sub-region.

Since independence on the 24th October 1964, Zambia has evolved through eleven (11) Parliaments. In this regard, by 24th October 2014, the Zambian Parliament will have continuously have enjoyed Parliamentary democracy for fifty (50) years.

According to Article 62 of the Constitution of Zambia, “Parliament” is a composite body consisting of the President and the National Assembly. The Republican President, through the powers conferred by the Constitution, calls Parliament to meet, orders elections to take place, and gives final approval to laws (the Presidential Assent) but does not otherwise play an active role in parliamentary work. It is the National Assembly, which consists of elected and nominated Members of Parliament that carries out a wide range of important public responsibilities.

These responsibilities include making laws (Acts of Parliament), approving proposals for taxation and public expenditure, and keeping the work of the Government under scrutiny and review.

 Responsible Government

Parliament is not the same thing as the Executive. Parliament does not appoint the Executive (the Executive is appointed by the Republican President ) but in order to remain in office, the Executive must be able to avoid defeat on important matters such as the Budget.  If the Executive can rely on the support of Parliament on important matters, it is said to have the confidence of the House.  The principle that a government remains in office only so long as it has the confidence of the House is known as RESPONSIBLE GOVERNANCE (because the Government is responsible to the House for the retention of the House’s confidence) and is of fundamental constitutional importance in our system.

The Election of Members of Parliament

Members of Parliament are elected for a five (5) year term on the basis of elections at which every adult person aged eighteen (18) years of age and above and permanently resident in Zambia is entitled to vote.

There are one hundred and fifty parliamentary constituencies where those aspiring to be Members of Parliament stand for elections every five years. The Republican President nominates eight Members. The total number of Members of Parliament is, therefore, one hundred and fifty-eight (158). But since the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Republican President are also Members of Parliament, this brings the total to one hundred and sixty (160).

 Visiting Parliament

 In an effort to bring Parliament closer to the people, The Speaker has relaxed the requirements for members of the public to visit Parliament. It is not necessary for individuals who wish to observe the proceedings of Parliament to seek advance permission in writing. All that is required is for visitors to come with some form of identification (passport, National Registration Card, e.t.c) and after passing through the security screens, they are issued with visitors’ passes for one day.

Those wishing to visit Parliament in groups or educational tours are required to put their request in writing to the Clerk of the National Assembly. After the request has been acceded to, the Public Relations Department is responsible for conducting group visitors around Parliament Buildings. There is adequate vehicle parking space for visitors in front of the main entrance to the main building.

Visitors to Parliament coming to observe Parliament proceedings sit in the Public galleries a floor above the floor of the house, to the left and right side of the Speaker’s Chair, giving a bird’s eye view of the proceedings below. Only Mr. Speaker’s guests are privileged to sit in the Speaker’s and Diplomatic Galleries, while members of the Press are allocated the Press Gallery.

 Dress Code for Visitors

Visitors are required to dress formally and in a manner befitting the dignity of the House. Males are required to be in long or short sleeved shirt and tie while females should wear a formal dress or skirt suit or chitenge suit, short or long sleeved, with the hemline going below the knee. Recognized official uniforms such as school uniforms are also allowed.

 Visitors in the galleries are not allowed to participate in the debates in any way at all, whether by gestures, clapping, ululating or by any activity that would disturb the proceedings in the chamber. All cell phones are supposed to be switched off, including any electronic equipment, such as alarm clocks, that emit sounds likely to divert the attention of the House.

 Visitors in the galleries are required to rise to their feet each time the speaker’s procession enters or leaves the chamber.

The Judiciary of Zambia is an independent arm of the government. Under Article 91(2) of the Constitution, Judges, Magistrates and Justices shall be independent, impartial and subject only to the Constitution and the law. They shall also conduct themselves in accordance with the code of conduct promulgated by parliament.

Article 91(1) of the Constitution defines the composition of the Judicature of the Republic as consisting of:

  • The Supreme Court of Zambia
  • The High Court of Zambia
  • The Industrial Relations Court
  • The Subordinate Court

The Local Court; and such lower Courts as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament. For example, the Small Claims Courts established by the Small Claims Courts Act Chapter 47 of the Laws of Zambia. Article 98 (2) provides for the tenure of offices of the Judges that they shall vacate office on attaining the age of sixty-five and they may only be removed from office for inability to perform the functions of office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind, incompetence or misbehaviour.

  • The Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court are appointed by the President on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, subject to ratification by the National Assembly as stated by Article 95 of the Constitution.
  • The Magistrates who preside over Subordinate Courts are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission, acting in the name of the President.

Under Article 91(3) of the Constitution the Judicature shall be autonomous and it is administered in accordance with the Judicature Administration Act Chapter 24 of the Laws of Zambia.

 

Judiciary Objectives

The roles or core functions of the Judiciary include the following:

Administer justice through resolving disputes between individual and individual, and between state and individual

Interpret the Constitution and the laws of Zambia

Promote the rule of law and contribute to the maintenance of order in society

Safeguard the constitution and uphold democratic principles

Protect human rights of individuals and groups

The Administration of Judicature

According to Section 3(1) of the Judicature Administration Act Chapter 24 of the Laws of Zambia, The President, on recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, appoints a Chief Administrator who is responsible for the day to day running of the Judicature and the implementation of resolutions of the Judicial Service Commission.

The Chief Administrator

is the Controlling Officer regarding the expenditure of the Judicature within the meaning of the Finance (Control and Management) Act Chapter 347 0f the Laws of Zambia Keeps books of accounts and other records in relation to the accounts of the Judicature. Prepares and submits financial reports concerning the activities of the Judicature to the President.

Contact Person

The Chief Administrator, Supreme Court Building, Box 50067, LUSAKA.

Tel. 251330

Method of Judicial Appointment

The Judicial Service Commission is responsible for identifying and recommending candidates to the President for appointment to judicial offices.

Article 93(1) of the Constitution states that the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice shall subject to ratification by the National Assembly, be appointed by the President. Article 95(1) of the Constitution states that the Puisne Judges shall, subject to ratification by the National Assembly, be appointed by the President on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission.

 

The Chairman and Deputy chairman of the Industrial Relations court are also appointed by the President on advise by the Judicial Service commission as stipulated by Article 95(2) of the Constitution.

The other members of the Judicature and its staff are appointed under section 4 of the Judicature Administration Act, Chapter 24 of the Laws of Zambia.

These include the High Court Registrar, Magistrates, Justices of the Local Courts, Sheriff and other members of staff who are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission.

The Judicial Service Commission

The Judicial Service Commission is chaired by the Chief Justice. Other members of the Commission include:

A Supreme Court Judge

The Attorney General

The Solicitor General

A Member of Parliament

The Secretary to the Cabinet

A Legal Practitioner

President of the Law Association of Zambia

Dean of the School of Law

The Chairman of the Public Service Commission.

High Court: Appointed by the President

Commissioner: Appointed by the President

Supreme Court: Appointed by the President

Chief Justice: Appointed by the President.

The current Chief Justice is Madam Ireen Mambilima

Each person holds office till the age of 65 and is confirmed by the National Assembly

CONSTITUTION OF ZAMBIA (AMENDMENT) 2016-ACT NO 2

 

On Tuesday 5th January 2016 President Lungu assented to the bills passed by Parliament, bringing into effect the Constitution of Zambia Act, No. 1 of 2016 and the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act. No. 2 of 2016, which may be cited as Constitution of Zambia Act, 2015 and the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act, 2015, respectively.

 

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