Legislature

Part V The Legislature


Article 62: Legislative Power and Membership of Parliament The legislative power of the Republic of Zambia shall vest in Parliament which shall consist of the President and the National Assembly.

Article 63: Composition of, and Election to, National Assembly
  1. The National Assembly shall consist of -
    1. one hundred and fifty elected members;
    2. not more than eight nominated members; and
    3. the Speaker of the National Assembly.
  2. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the election of members of the National Assembly shall be direct, by universal adult suffrage and by secret ballot and shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution and as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament.
Article 64: Qualification for Election to National Assembly Subject to

Article 65, a person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the National Assembly if, and shall not be qualified to be so elected unless
-
  1. he is a citizen of Zambia;
  2. he has attained the age of twenty-one years; and
  3. he is literate and conversant with the official language of Zambia.
Article 65: Disqualification for Election to National Assembly
  1. No person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the National Assembly -
    1. who is under a declaration of allegiance to some country other than Zambia;
    2. who is, under any law in force in Zambia, adjudged or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind;
    3. who is under sentence of death imposed on him by a court in Zambia or a sentence of imprisonment, by whatever name called, imposed on him by such a court or substituted by a competent authority for some other sentence imposed on him by such court;
    4. who is an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in Zambia;
    5. whose freedom of movement is restricted, or who is detained, under the authority of law; or
    6. who, within a period of five years before his nomination for election, has served a sentence of imprisonment for a criminal offence.
  2. No person who holds, or is a validly nominated candidate in an election for, the office of the President shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly.
  3. Parliament may provide that a person who holds or is acting in any office that is specified by Parliament and the functions of which involve responsibility for, or in connection with, the conduct of any election to the National Assembly or the compilation of any register of voters for the purposes of such an election shall not be qualified to be elected as a member of the Assembly.
  4. Parliament may provide that a person who is convicted by any court of any offence that is prescribed by Parliament and that is connected with election of the members of the National Assembly or who is reported guilty of such offence by the court trying an election petition shall not be qualified to be elected as a member of the Assembly for such period, not exceeding five years following his conviction or the report of the court, as the case may be, as may be so prescribed.
  5. No person holding or acting in any post, office or appointment -
    1. in the Defence Force as defined in the Defence Act, the Combined Cadet Force, the Zambian National Service, or any other force or service established for the preservation of security in Zambia;
    2. in the Zambia Police Force, the Zambia Police Reserve, the Zambia Security Intelligence Service, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Zambia Prison Service or in any other force or service established for the preservation of security in Zambia;
    3. in the Public Service including an office to which Article 61 applies;
    4. in the Teaching Service; or
    5. prescribed in that behalf or under an Act of Parliament;
    6. shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly.
  6. In this Article the reference to a sentence of imprisonment shall be construed as not including a sentence of imprisonment the execution of which is suspended or a sentence of imprisonment in default of payment of a fine.
Article 66: Nomination for Election to National Assembly
  1. Nominations for election to the National Assembly shall be delivered to the returning officer appointed by the Electoral Commission on such day and at such time and at such place as may be prescribed by the Electoral Commission.
  2. Any nomination for election to the National Assembly shall not be valid unless -
    1. the candidate has paid the election fee prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament; and
    2. the nomination is supported by not less than nine persons registered in the constituency in which the candidate is standing as voters for the purpose of elections to the National Assembly.
Article 67: By-Elections for the National Assembly
  1. When a vacancy occurs in the seat of a member of the National Assembly as a result of the death or resignation of the member or by virtue of Article 71 a by-election shall be held within ninety days after the occurrence of the vacancy.
  2. Parliament may by an Act of Parliament prescribe the manner in which a by-election shall be held.
Article 68: Nominated Members
  1. The President may, at any time after a general election to the National Assembly and before the National Assembly is next dissolved, appoint such number of persons as he thinks fit to be nominated members of the National Assembly, so, however, that there are not more than eight such members as any one time.
  2. Subject to the provisions of this Article, a person may be appointed as a nominated member if he is qualified under Article 64 and is not disqualified under Article 65 for election as an elected member.
  3. A person may not be appointed as a nominated member if he was a candidate for election in the last preceding general election or in any subsequent by-election.
Article 69: Speaker
  1. There shall be a Speaker of the National Assembly who shall be elected by the members of the Assembly from among persons who are qualified to be elected as members of the Assembly but are not members of the Assembly.
  2. The Speaker shall vacate his office -
    1. if any circumstances arise that, if he were not Speaker, would disqualify him for election as such;
    2. when the National Assembly first sits after any dissolution of the National Assembly; or
    3. if the National Assembly resolves, upon a motion supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the members thereof, that he shall be removed from office.
  3. No business shall be transacted in the National Assembly, other than an election to the office of Speaker, at any time when the office of Speaker is vacant.
Article 70: Deputy Speaker
  1. There shall be a Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly who shall be elected by the members of the Assembly from among members of the Assembly.
  2. The members of the National Assembly shall elect a person to the office of Deputy Speaker when the Assembly first sits after any dissolution of the National Assembly and, if the office becomes vacant otherwise than by reason of the dissolution of the National Assembly, at the first sitting of the Assembly after the office becomes vacant.
  3. The Deputy Speaker shall vacate his office -
    1. if he ceases to be a member of the National Assembly;
    2. if he assumes the office of President or becomes the Vice-President, a Minister, a Deputy Minister or holds or acts in any office prescribed in that behalf by or under an Act of Parliament; or
    3. if the National Assembly resolves that he should be removed from office.
Article 71: Tenure of Office of Members of National Assembly
  1. Every member of the National Assembly, with the exception of the Speaker, shall vacate his seat in the Assembly upon the dissolution of the National Assembly.
  2. A member of the National Assembly shall vacate his seat in the Assembly -
    1. if he ceases to be a citizen of Zambia;
    2. if he acts contrary to the code of conduct prescribed by an Act of Parliament;
    3. in the case of an elected member, if he becomes a member of a political party other than the party, of which he was an authorized candidate when he was elected to the National Assembly or, if having been an independent candidate, he joins a political party;
    4. if he assumes the office of President;
    5. if he is sentenced by a court in Zambia to death or to imprisonment, by whatever name called, for a term exceeding six months;
    6. if any circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the Assembly, would cause him to be disqualified for election as such under Article 65;
    7. if, under the authority of any such law as is referred to in Article 22 or 25 -
      • his freedom of movement has been restricted or he has been detained for a continuous period exceeding six months;
      • his freedom of movement has been restricted and he has immediately thereafter been detained and the total period of restriction and detention together exceeds six months; or
      • he has been detained and immediately thereafter his freedom of movement has been restricted and the total period of detention and restriction together exceeds six months.
  3. Notwithstanding anything contained in clause (2), where any member of the National Assembly who has been sentenced to death or imprisonment, adjudged or declared to be of unsound mind, adjudged or declared bankrupt or convicted or reported guilty of any offence prescribed under clause (4) of Article 65 appeals against the decision or applies for a free pardon in accordance with any law the decision shall not have effect for the purpose of this Article until the final determination of such appeal or application: Provided that -
    1. such member shall not, pending such final determination, exercise his functions or receive any remuneration as a member of the National Assembly; and
    2. if, on the final determination of the member's appeal or application, his conviction is set aside, or he is granted a free pardon, or he is declared not to be of unsound mind or bankrupt or guilty of an offence prescribed under clause (4) of Article 65, he shall be entitled to resume his functions as a member of the National Assembly unless he has previously resigned, and to receive remuneration as such a member for the period during which he did not exercise his functions by reason of the provisions of paragraph (i) of this provision.
Article 72: Determination of Questions as to Membership of National Assembly
  1. The High Court shall have power to hear and determine any question whether -
    1. any person has been validly elected or nominated as a member of the National Assembly or the seat of any member has become vacant;
    2. any person has been validly elected as Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, or having been so elected, has vacated the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker.
  2. The determination by the High Court on any question under this Article shall not be subject to appeal: Provided that an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from any determination of the High Court on any question of law including the interpretation of this Constitution.
Article 73: Clerk and Staff of National Assembly There shall be a Clerk of the National Assembly and such other offices in the department of the Clerk of the Assembly as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament.

Article 74: House of Representatives The National Assembly may by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of its members establish a House of Representatives to perform such functions as may be prescribed by the Constitution.

Article 75: The Franchise
  1. Every citizen of Zambia who has attained the age of eighteen years shall, unless he is disqualified by Parliament from registration as a voter for the purposes of elections to the National Assembly, be entitled to be registered as such a voter under a law in that behalf, and no other person may be so registered.
  2. Every person who is registered in any constituency as a voter for the purpose of elections to the National Assembly shall, unless he is disqualified by Parliament from voting in such elections on grounds of his having been convicted of an offence in connection with elections or on the grounds of his having been reported guilty of such an offence by the court trying an election petition or on the grounds of his being in lawful custody at the date of the election, be entitled so to vote in that constituency in accordance with the provisions made by or under an Act of Parliament, and no other person may so vote.
Article 76: Electoral Commission
  1. The President shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Article, establish an Electoral Commission to supervise the registration of voters and the conduct of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections and to review the boundaries of the constituencies into which Zambia is divided for the purposes of elections to the National Assembly.
  2. The President shall establish an Electoral Commission -
    1. whenever Parliament is dissolved he otherwise considers it necessary;
    2. at such times, being not less than eight or more than ten years since the boundaries of the constituencies were last reviewed as he may from time to time appoint;
    3. whenever the number of seats in the National Assembly have been altered;
    4. whenever a census of the population has been held in pursuance of any law.
  3. An Act of Parliament shall provide for the composition and operations of an Electoral Commission appointed by the President under this Article.
Article 77: Constituencies and Elections
  1. Zambia shall be divided into constituencies, for purposes of elections to the National Assembly so that the number of such constituencies, the boundaries of which shall be such as an Electoral Commission prescribes, shall be equal to the number of seats of elected members in the Assembly.
  2. In delimiting the constituencies, the Commission shall have regard to the availability of means of communication and the geographical features of the area to be divided into constituencies: Provided that the constituencies shall be so delimited that there shall be at least ten constituencies in each administrative Province.
  3. Each constituency shall return one member only to the National Assembly.
  4. The boundaries of each constituency shall be such that the number of inhabitants thereof is as nearly equal to the population quota as is reasonably practicable: Provided that the number of inhabitants of a constituency may be greater or less than the population quota in order to take account of means of communication, geographical features and the difference between urban and rural areas in respect of density of population and to take account of the provision to clause (2).
  5. An Electoral Commission established for purposes of reviewing the boundaries of the constituencies shall review the boundaries and may, in accordance with the provision of this Article, alter the constituencies to such extent as it considers desirable: Provided that a Commission established by reason of the holding of a census of the population may, if the Commission considers that the changes in the distribution of population reported in the census do not justify an alteration in the boundaries, so report to the President without entering upon a review of the boundaries of the constituencies.
  6. Any alteration of the constituencies shall come into effect upon the next dissolution of Parliament.
  7. In this Article "the population quota" means the number obtained by dividing the number of inhabitants of Zambia by the number of constituencies into which Zambia is to be divided under this Article.
  8. For the purposes of this Article the number of inhabitants of Zambia shall be ascertained by reference to the latest census of the population held in pursuance of any law.
  9. During any period when an Electoral Commission is established for purposes of Presidential and Parliamentary elections, the registration of voters and the conduct of elections in every constituency shall be subject to the direction and supervision of the Commission.
Article 78: Exercise of Legislative Power of Parliament
  1. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the legislative power of Parliament shall be exercised by bills passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President.
  2. No bill (other than such a bill as is mentioned in Article 27 (8)) shall be presented to the President until after the expiration of three days from the third reading of the bill by the National Assembly, and where a bill is referred to a tribunal in accordance with Article 27 that bill shall not be presented to the President for assent until the tribunal has reported on the bill or the time for making a report has expired, whichever is the earlier.
  3. Where a bill is presented to the President for assent he shall either assent or withhold his assent.
  4. Where the President withholds his assent to a bill, the bill shall be returned to the National Assembly: Provided that if the President withholds his assent to a bill in respect of which a tribunal has reported under Article 27 that it would, if enacted, be inconsistent with Part III, the bill shall be returned to the Assembly only if the President so directs.
  5. Where a bill is again presented to the President for assent in accordance with the provisions of clause (5) the President shall assent to the bill within twenty-one days of its presentation, unless he sooner dissolves Parliament.
  6. Where a bill that has been duly passed is assented to in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution it shall become law and the President shall thereupon cause it to be published in the Gazette as a law.
  7. No law made by Parliament shall come into operation until it has been published in the Gazette, but Parliament may postpone the coming into operation of any such law and may make laws with retrospective effect.
  8. All laws made by Parliament shall be styled "Acts" and the words of enactment shall be "Enacted by the Parliament of Zambia".
Article 79: Alteration of Constitution
  1. Subject to the provisions of this Article, Parliament may alter this Constitution or the Constitution of Zambia Act, 1991.
  2. Subject to cause (3) a bill for the alteration of this Constitution or the Constitution of Zambia Act, 1991 shall not be passed unless -
    1. not less than thirty days before the first reading of the bill in the National Assembly the text of the bill is published in the Gazette; and
    2. the bill is supported on second and third readings by the votes of not less than two thirds of all the members of the Assembly.
  3. A bill for the alteration of Part III of this Constitution or of this Article shall not be passed unless before the first reading of the bill in the National Assembly it has been put to a National referendum with or without amendment by not less than fifty per cent of persons entitled to be registered as voters for the purposes of Presidential and parliamentary elections.
  4. Any referendum conducted for the purposes of clause (3) shall be so conducted and supervised in such manner as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament.
  5. In this Article -
    1. references to this Constitution or the Constitution of Zambia Act, 1991 include reference to any law that amends or replaces any of the provisions of this Constitution or that Act; and
    2. references to the alteration of this Constitution or the Constitution of Zambia Act, 1991 or of any Part of Article include references to the amendment, modification or re-enactment with or without amendment or modification, of any provision for the time being contained in this Constitution, that Act, Part or Article, the suspension or repeal or any such provision and the making of different provision in lieu of such provision, and the addition of new provisions, to this Constitution, that Act, Part or Article.
  6. Nothing in this Article shall be so construed as to require the publication of any amendment to any such bill as is referred to in clause (2) proposed to be moved in the National Assembly.
Article 80: Statutory Instruments
  1. Nothing in Article 62 shall prevent Parliament from conferring on any person or authority power to make statutory instruments.
  2. Every statutory instrument shall be published in the Gazette not later than twenty-eight days after it is made or, in the case of a statutory instrument which will not have the force of law unless it is approved by some person or authority other than the person or authority by which it was made, not later than twenty-eight days after it is so approved, and if it is not so published it shall be void from the date on which it was made.
  3. Where a tribunal appointed under Article 27 reports to the President that any provision of a statutory instrument is inconsistent with any provision of this Constitution, the President may, by order annul that statutory instrument and it shall thereupon be void from the date on which it was made.
Article 81: Restrictions with Regard to Certain Financial Measures Except upon the recommendation of the President signified by the Vice President or a Minister, the National Assembly shall not -
  1. proceed upon any bill (including any amendment to a bill) that, in the opinion of the person presiding, makes provision for any of the following purposes:
    1. for the imposition of taxation or the alteration of taxation otherwise than by reduction;
    2. for the imposition of any charge upon the general revenues of the Republic or the alteration of any such charge otherwise than by reduction;
    3. for the payment, issue or withdrawal from the general revenues of the Republic of any moneys not charged thereon or any increase in the amount of such payment, issue or withdrawal; or
    4. for the composition or remission of any debt due to the Government; or
  2. proceed upon any motion (including any amendment to a motion) the effect of which, in the opinion of the person presiding, would be to make provision for any of those purposes.
Article 82: President may Address National Assembly
  1. The President may, at any time, attend and address the National Assembly.
  2. The President may send messages to the National Assembly and any such message shall be read, at the first convenient sitting of the Assembly after it is received, by the Vice-President or by a Minister designated by the President.
Article 83: Presiding in National Assembly There shall preside at any sitting of the National Assembly -
  1. the Speaker of the Assembly;
  2. in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker; or
  3. in the absence of the Speaker and of the Deputy Speaker, such member of the Assembly as the Assembly may elect for that purpose.
Article 84: Voting and Quorum
  1. Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution all questions at any sitting of the National Assembly shall be determined by a majority of votes of the members present and voting other than the Speaker or the person acting as Speaker as the case may be.
  2. The Speaker or person acting as such shall not vote in the first instance, but shall have and exercise a casting vote if there is an equality of votes.
  3. The National Assembly shall have power to act notwithstanding any vacancy in the membership thereof, and any proceedings in the National Assembly shall be valid notwithstanding that it is discovered subsequently that some person who was not entitled to do so, voted or otherwise took part in the proceedings.
  4. The quorum for a meeting of the National Assembly shall be one third of the total number of members of the Assembly and if at any time during a meeting of the Assembly objection is taken by any member present that there is no quorum, it shall be the duty of the Speaker or person acting as such, either to adjourn the Assembly or, as he may think fit, to suspend the meeting until there is a quorum.
Article 85: Unqualified Persons Sitting or Voting Any person who sits or votes in the National Assembly knowing or having reasonable grounds for knowing that he is not entitled to do so shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding one thousand kwacha or such other sum as may be prescribed by Parliament for each day on which he so sits or votes, which penalty shall be recoverable by action in the High Court at the suit of the Attorney-General.

Article 86: Procedure in National Assembly
  1. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the National Assembly may determine its own procedure.
  2. The National Assembly may act notwithstanding any vacancy in its membership (including any vacancy not filled when the Assembly first meets after any dissolution of Parliament) and the presence or participation of any person not entitled to be present or to participate in the proceedings of the Assembly shall not invalidate those proceedings.
  3. In the selection of members of committees, the National Assembly shall seek to ensure that equitable representation of the political parties or groups that are represented in the Assembly as well as of the members not belonging to any such parties or groups.
Article 87: Privileges and Immunities of National Assembly The National Assembly and its members shall have such privileges and immunities as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament.

Article 88: Meeting, Duration and Dissolution of Parliament and Related Matters
  1. Subject to the provisions of clauses (2) and (8), each session of Parliament shall be held at such place within Zambia and shall commence at such time as the President may appoint.
  2. There shall be a session of Parliament at least once every year so that a period of twelve months shall not intervene between the last sitting of the National Assembly in one session and the commencement of the next session.
  3. The President may at any time summon a meeting of the National Assembly.
  4. Subject to the provisions of clause (1) of Article 37, the sittings of the National Assembly in any session of Parliament after the commencement of that session shall be held at such times and on such days as the Assembly shall appoint.
  5. The President may at any time prorogue Parliament.
  6. Subject to clause (9) the National Assembly -
    1. shall unless sooner dissolved, continue for five years from the date of its first sitting after the commencement of this Constitution or after any dissolution and shall then stand dissolved;
    2. may, by a two-thirds majority of the members thereof dissolve itself; or
    3. may be dissolved by the President at any time.
  7. Whenever the National Assembly is dissolved under this Article there shall be Presidential elections and elections to the National Assembly and the first session of the new Parliament shall commence within three months from the date of the dissolution.
  8. At any time when the Republic is at war, Parliament may from time to time extend the period of five years specified in clause (6) for not more than twelve months at a time: Provided that the life of the National Assembly shall not be extended under this clause for more than five years.
  9. If, after a dissolution of Parliament and before the holding of the general elections, the President considers that owing to the existence of a state of war or of a state of emergency in Zambia or any part thereof, it is necessary to recall Parliament, the President may summon the Parliament that has been dissolved to meet and that Parliament shall be deemed to be the Parliament for the time being, but the general election of members of the National Assembly shall proceed and the Parliament that has been recalled shall, if not sooner dissolved again stand dissolved on the day appointed for the nomination of candidates in that general election.
Article 89: Oaths to be Taken by Speaker and Members The Speaker of the National Assembly, before assuming the duties of his office, and every member of the Assembly before taking his seat therein, shall take and subscribe before the Assembly the oath of allegiance.

Article 90: Investigator-General
  1. There shall be an Investigator-General of the Republic who shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission and shall be the Chairman of the Commission for Investigations.
  2. A person shall not be qualified for appointment as Investigator-General -
    1. unless he is qualified to be appointed a judge of the High Court; or
    2. if he holds the Office of President, Vice-President, Minister or Deputy Minister, is a member of the National Assembly or is a public officer.
      Subject to the provisions of this section, a person appointed Investigator-General shall vacate his office on attaining the age of sixty-five years: Provided that the President may permit a person who has attained that age to continue in office for such period as may be necessary to complete and submit any report on, or do any other thing in relation to, any investigation that was commenced by him before the attained age.
  3. A person appointed as Investigator-General shall forthwith vacate any office prescribed by an Act of Parliament.
  4. A person appointed as Investigator-General may be removed from office for inability to perform the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or from any other cause) or from misbehavior, but shall not be so removed except in accordance with the provisions of this Article.
  5. If the National Assembly by resolution supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the members of that House, resolves that the question of removing the Investigator-General ought to be investigated, the Speaker of the National Assembly shall send a copy to the Chief Justice who shall appoint a tribunal consisting of a Chairman and two other persons to inquire into the matter.
  6. The Chairman and one other member of the tribunal shall be persons who hold or have held high judicial office.
  7. The tribunal shall inquire into the matter and report thereon to the President.
  8. Where such a tribunal advises the President that the Investigator-General ought to be removed from office for inability as aforesaid or for misbehavior, the President shall remove the Investigator-General from office.
  9. If the question of removing the Investigator-General from office has been referred to a tribunal under this Article, the President may suspend him from performing any functions of his office, and any such suspension may at any time be revoked by the President and shall in any case cease to have effect if the tribunal shall advise the President that the Investigator-General ought not to be removed.
  10. If there is a vacancy in the office of the Investigator-General, or if the Investigator-General is temporarily absent from Zambia or otherwise unable to exercise the functions of his office, the President may appoint a person qualified to be a Judge of the High Court to exercise the functions of the office of the Investigator-General under this Article.