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Lungu’s eligibility case resumes, as petitioners ask ConCourt to reconstitute bench to 7 judgesBy Zondiwe Mbewe on 28 Mar 2018
ConCourt Judge Annie Sitali says the complaint against the Constitutional Court president Hilda Chibomba has been withdrawn from the Judicial Complaints Commission.
Judge Sitali said parties should use proper channels of requiring a judge to recuse himself or herself when they are of the view that such a judge should not hear and determine a matter.
And the ConCourt has adjourned to today the notice of motion by Heritage Party leader, Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda to have President Edgar Lungu cited for contempt of court for commenting on his eligibility to contest the 2021 general elections.
Meanwhile the Constitutional court has reserved ruling on an application made by the petitioners to have President Lungu’s eligibility case determined by seven ConCourt judges.
When the matter came up, Tuesday, Justice Sitali urged parties to follow proper legal guidelines when asking judges to recuse themselves.
“When the matter came up in January, 2018, The complaint was related to this matter. The complaint has now been withdrawn from JCC by the applicants which is why the matter has been listed for hearing today. We wish to state that parties should use proper channels of requiring a judge to recuse himself or herself when parties are of the view that such a judge should not hear and determine the matter. In the present case the applicant unveiled their complaint to the media before the letter of complaint was even received by the president of this court. We urge parties to act appropriately and follow the laws at all times,” said Judge Sitali.
And ConCourt adjourned to today the notice of motion by Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda to have President Edgar Lungu cited for contempt of court for commenting on his eligibility to contest the 2021 general elections.
Brig Gen Miyanda filed a notice of motion seeking a declaration that President Lungu had breached his oath of President and the Constitution by issuing or publishing threats against judges of the Constitutional court concerning the case that they were currently adjudicating upon.
However, Attorney General Likando Kalaluka, LAZ and PF argued that Gen Miyanda’s application was not properly before court and should be dismissed.
Meanwhile, ConCourt yesterday heard submissions on whether or not the court should reconstitute itself from five to seven judges to hear President Lungu’s eligibility case.
All parties except the UPND and Brig General Miyanda did not object to the application to have seven instead of five judges on the panel.
UPND lawyer Keith Mweemba argued that the current panel of five judges was competent to deal with all the issues before the court.
“As this court is sitting there’s nothing unconstitutional about it. There’s nothing illegal or unlawful. The danger with the application before you is that if today the number of constitutional court judges increased, this would mean that there’s nothing that can stop anyone to make another application to reconstitute. The panel as it is sitting right now is a full bench. This panel qualifies and is competent to actually hear this petition of the main matter five as you are. That’s the law,” said Mweemba.
In this matter, four PF-alingned opposition political party leaders Daniel Pule of Christian Democratic Party, Zambia Republican Party leader Wright Musoma, Peter Chanda of the New Congress Party and Citizen Democratic Party leader Robert Mwanza want the court to determine the eligibility of President Lungu to contest elections in 2021.
The Attorney General is the first respondent whereas PF Secretary General Davies Mwila is the second respondent.
The Law Association of Zambia, UPND, and Heritage Party leader, Brig General Miyanda are interested parties.
State Counsel John Sangwa is representing the Law Association of Zambia while Keith Mweemba is representing the UPND.
About Zondiwe Mbewe
Zondiwe is a vibrant young Zambian journalist who has interest in writing political and current affairs on issues which affect every Zambians. She draws inspiration from journalists who stand for what is right and are not afraid to tell and show the truth to the people.
Email: zondiwe [at] diggers [dot] news
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