High Court throws out UPND’s “right to be heard election case”

Filed under: Breaking News,Politics |
1,879 Views

Hakainde Hichilema

LUSAKA High Court judge Mwila Chitabo has dismissed the long awaited case in which UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and his vice-president, Geoffrey Mwamba were seeking a determination of whether their right to be heard in a Presidential election petition was violated when the Constitutional Court dismissed the petition  on September 5, 2016.

The duo wanted the Court to determine whether their election petition in the Constitutional Court was therefore heard and determined  or not.
But delivering his judgement, Lusaka High Court Judge, Mwila Chitabo ruled and agreeing to preliminary submission by the Attorney General that the High Court had no jurisdiction to rule or overturn the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

Solicitor General Abraham Mwansa had raised  preliminary issues in the matter and urged the court to dismiss the UPND’s right to be heard case, saying the High Court has no jurisdiction to review a judgement which was already settled by a superior court which was the Constitutional Court.

And Judge Chitabo agreed with the submissions by Mwansa and reteirated that like he had stated in his earlier, ruling, the court had no jurisdiction or authority to determine Hichilema and Mwamba’s issues as the Constitutional Court had determined the matter.

The Concourt on September 5, 2016 dismissed the election petition which the UPND filed for want of prosecution after the 14 days period  in which it was supposed to be heard elapsed.

Determine whether their right to be heard in a Presidential election petition was violated when the Constitutional Court dismissed it on September 5, 2016 for want of prosecution.
Judge Chitabo said the Concourt having dismissed the petition/his court has no jurisdiction to hear it at all.

“The 14 days is the mandated period and fairness should be in accordance with the law. I have no clothe of authority to substitute the 14 days because that’s what the Constitution says that it should be determined within the mandatory 14 days,” he said..

Judge Chitabo added that the lamentations by UPND, Lawyer State Counsel John Sangwa SC where one would go, if the court declines the petitioners  to determine the issues was in his view not a legal argument.

“Litigants who choose to ignore court orders do so at their own peril…the Constitution should be read holistically,” he said.

Judge Chitabo said all the preliminary issues raised by Mwansa are sustained, saying it followed therefore, that the petitioners petition launched before him has collapsed.

“The petition is dismissed,” said judge Chitabo who ordered that each party should bear their own costs.

The Solicitor General had raised three preliminary issues on whether the High Court can interpret otherwise, in respect to the time frame in which the Presidential petition election must be heard and whether the determination of the petition was a civil right as to bring it under Article 18 of the Constitution.

The Solicitor General also wanted the High Court to determine whether it can inquire into the question of hearing when the petition was not heard because of inertia and negligence of the petitioners who did not keep to the time.

On the other hand, Sangwa had submitted that dismissing the Presidential petition without it being heard was not fair, adding that the time allocated to it being heard was unreasonable although it was set out in the Constitution.

“This is the reason why his clients want the High Court to pronounce itself on whether the act of the Constitutional Court amounted to the violation of the petitioners right to be heard or not as the issue of challenging  a Presidential election is a civil right which must be enjoyed by every citizen of Zambia,” he said.

John Sangwa said that being the case, the question raised by Mwansa whether the High Court could interpret otherwise, in respect to the time frame in which the Presidential petition election must be heard  was irrelevant.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.