Green Party president Peter Sinkamba says the ongoing acrimony over President Lungu’s eligibility to contest elections in 2021 is unwarrantably dividing the nation.
And Sinkamba says the Constitutional Court does not need assistance to interpret any provision of the Constitution because it can do so own its own motion, as the Constitution allows it to.
Speaking to journalists in Kitwe yesterday on the decision by the Constitutional Court to adjourn sine die following a complaint submitted to the Judicial Complaints Commission (JCC) by petitioners in President Lungu’s eligibility case, Sinkamba complained that the on-going acrimony over President Lungu’s eligibility to contest 2021 elections was unnecessary.
“You see, there is no constitutional provision which bars the Constitutional Court to interpret any provision of the Constitution own its own motion. The only restriction in the Constitution is that this court cannot deal with matters that are related to the Bill of Rights. Such matters are in the meantime a preserve of the High Court and the Supreme Court. Also, when you look at the Constitutional Court Act and Constitutional Court Rules, neither of the two bars the ConCourt to interpret the Constitution own its own motion. So this whole acrimony on the eligibility of President Lungu is really unwarrantably dividing the nation for far too long,” Sinkamba said.
And Sinkamba said the complaint submitted by the petitioners in the eligibility case against the ConCourt President were unnecessary.
“In this regard, submissions from petitioners on the interpretation of the Constitution are merely complimentary. They are not an imperative. They are not a must at all. Whether or not petitioners make submissions on what they think is the interpretation of a particular provision of the constitution is neither here nor there. The interpretation of the Constitution is fundamentally a preserve of the Court itself. So what is the fuss about this whole hullabaloo? We need quick closure to things that have potential to cause unnecessary acrimony in the Nation. There are so many other important things to do in this country. The earlier the ConCourt came to this realisation the better for the nation” he said.
Meanwhile, Sinkamba charged that the alleged bias of ConCourt President Hildah Chibomba on the matter was not a factor because judgment on the eligibility case did not depend on her alone.
“You see, the perceived bias of the Judge President is not a factor at all going by the current constitution of the ConCourt. The Court currently has seven judges and Article 129 (3) of the Constitution provides that the full bench of the Constitutional Court should be constituted by an uneven number of not less than five judges. So, in this case, all the seven judges can agree to sit and constitute a full bench of seven judges. In that case, whether or not the Judge President is biased towards a particular opinion is immaterial because ConCourt decisions are about numbers. The majority will always take the day,” said Sinkamba.