Suspended Livingstone Magistrate Benjamin Mwelwa has insisted that the Constitutional Court has the authority to hear and determine a matter where he is challenging his suspension for alleged judicial misconduct.
And Mwelwa has asked the Court to dismiss preliminary issues raised by the Attorney General for being premature.
In this matter, Mwelwa is seeking the Court’s declaration that that his suspension by acting Chief Registrar Charles Kafunda is illegal and unconstitutional.
In his further affidavit in opposition to the respondent’s notice of motion to raise preliminary issues filed on April 15, Mwelwa stated that the preliminary issues raised by the Attorney General had no basis as they were frivolous and vexatious.
“I have seen what purports to be the respondent’s notice of motion to raise preliminary issue on the point of law and the affidavit in support sworn by Charles Kafunda, which notice of motion has been filed before the full bench of the Court and I intend to vehemently oppose on the following grounds: there has never been any recommendations from the Judicial Complaints’ Commission to trigger such disciplinary proceedings as established by the Constitution,” Mwelwa stated.
He further argued that the Constitution stipulated the procedure to be followed by the Judicial Complaints’ Commission in case of allegations of any misconduct against the judicial officer.
He added that the same having not being followed, the petition was a perfect mode of commencement as the Constitution was violated and contravened or breached.
“The Court has never made any determination as regards it jurisdiction (inter se) the petition, the Judiciary management and Judicial Complaints’ Commission,” Mwelwa stated.
Senior State Advocate Lwisha Shula had submitted that the issues, which were being challenged by the petitioner, were not within the Court’s jurisdiction.
“The issues raised by the petitioner to challenge his suspension from employment by his employer or employer’s agent and his attempts to enforce his rights under the Bill of Rights by claiming redress for the alleged restriction on his freedom of his employees are not within the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court, which is clothed with very specific jurisdiction,” stated Shula.
However, Mwelwa argued that the preliminary issues were premature and must be dismissed, adding that the Court had the authority to hear the matter.