Avoid post-election Judgeitis: Even legal eagles must fear to tread

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By Munyonzwe Hamalengwa

If the rumpus to the judiciary to settle the succession dispute in the wake of the death of President Sata is any indication of what may come after the election results of January 20, 2015 are announced, a caution ought to registered right now. Losing candidates must avoid at all costs any post election stampede to the judiciary. Even the greatest legal eagles must fear to tread there.

Post election Judgeitis is a killer. The route to the judiciary to overturn a presidential election result, no matter how corrupt, rigged or imperfect it was, is filled with shuttered dreams and grave yards. The judiciary all over the world has consistently refused to overturn the results of a presidential election. The status quo gets to be maintained. The judiciary will go to any length despite the logic to validate an election.

In the recent past in Africa, the Supreme Courts of Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia upheld the election results, even those that were flawed. Recently, scholars derided the Supreme Court judgment that upheld the election result in Kenya. To uphold the status quo, the judges went to the length of citing wrong precedents.  In Uganda, the Chief Justice when he retired, confessed that the upholding of the contested election result was a mistake. In Zimbabwe, the opposition realized their Supreme Court challenge was hopeless and withdrew it. In Zambia, the decision on the challenge of the election result came many years after the election that even if the election result was overturned, the incumbent had already been in power and enjoying the fruits. No judiciary would force such a person out of power that late.

In the United States, the Supreme Court upheld the flawed election of George Bush in 2000 even stating that the decision should never be used as a precedent in future. The Court was here sending a message that their decision was so flawed and wrong that it should not be used in the future. They were ashamed of it. They just wanted to uphold the skewed status quo at all costs.

Thus for Zambia, given the precedent of 1998 and all other examples that I have given, all efforts to win that forthcoming election must be made before the election results are announced. The judiciary will not hand it to you on a tainted, let alone a silver platter. There is hardly a precedent for that result.

Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa Is the author of The Politics of Judicial Diversity and Transformation.

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3 Responses to Avoid post-election Judgeitis: Even legal eagles must fear to tread

  1. you are right prof, mazoka died analysing the flawed judgment of mwanawasa victory. we were all their, we saw it all, we analysed together, we heard irrefutable testimonies from the ring leaders in the plot. even before elections it was already determined that he will lose by 33,ooo votes. all that information didn’t help to overturn the result. we hope the UPND still remember that and have put deliberate measures to abate the repeat. on the other hand we hope the online media will be giving updates more often to neutralise any intentions to inflate figures at the totalling center. I know this is criminal in Zambia as only ECZ is allowed to announce results, but that’s why we have the underground journalists like the watchdog!

    OBN
    January 16, 2015 at 2:49 pm
    Reply

  2. HH WILL BE SUED NOW

    We have enough evidence to commerce legal proceedings that makes HH not legible to occupy plot one.

    We are in court monday 21st. January, 2015.

    At the same time, we are seeking a restraing order to stop the acting chief justice to swore HH should he win the polls.

    the stoun
    January 17, 2015 at 10:54 am
    Reply

  3. HH WILL BE SUED NOW

    We have enough evidence to commerce legal proceedings that makes HH not legible to occupy plot one.

    We are in court monday 19th. January, 2015.

    At the same time, we are seeking a restraing order to stop the acting chief justice to swore HH should he win the polls.

    the stoun
    January 17, 2015 at 10:54 am
    Reply

    Leave a Reply

    the stoun
    January 17, 2015 at 10:57 am
    Reply

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