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The Constitutional Court

Filed under: Special Comments |

By Lubinda Habazoka

A constitutional court is supposed to be a court with a final say. This is a court that has the ability even to overturn laws. Is the legislature passes a law that is in conflict with the constitution, constitutional courts when petitioned interpret and can even rule to overturn such laws by declaring them unlawful.

Constitutional courts are very powerful courts around the world. Judges appointed to such courts are “next to God” in their actions. They don’t take sides and cannot be influenced by anyone. They understand that they are that institution that creates sanity in the country.

Even in countries like Russia with very strong executives, the constitutional courts have overturned a lot of laws and sided with freedom of the people. That’s why when the constitutional court was created, I was one of the people that supported this. Finally I thought we had a court to run to when faced with serious constitutional matters.

In reality today, our constitutional court has caused a lot of mess such that we miss even the court of appeal and the Supreme Court. Judgements issued by this court still leave a lot of questions than answers.

Instead of dealing with the matter decisively so as to set precedence and guidance for future Misunderstandings, this court dismisses issues on preliminaries and avoids to perform its function of interpreting the laws written by our troublesome legislature.

As a taxpayer and a responsible citizen of the nation, I just ask that we reinforce the laws that created the constitutional court and we cast its independence in iron and concrete.

I cant imagine the magistrate court listening to a case then convicting someone. Then after a year the same prosecutor goes to the same magistrate court with the same charges on the same person and reopens the same case. We have heard calls to reopen cases where courts have already ruled. That’s not how the law works.

The executive, legislature and judiciary are all open to criticism in a democratic society. Everyone including me is open to such criticism. This strengthens us because if it’s constructive criticism, it builds us.

To be honest our judiciary has a lot to learn from Kenya and South Africa.


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