ConCourt adds AG to Lundazi petition as friend of court

The Constitutional Court has allowed the Attorney General to join as a friend of the court in a matter where Lundazi Central loosing independent candidate Bizwayo Nkunika has petitioned it to declare Lawrence Nyirenda’s seat vacant

Constitutional Court Judge Martin Musaluke has declined to add the Attorney General as a party to the proceedings saying Nyirenda has not demonstrated any cause for the Attorney General to be added as a third respondent.

In this matter, Nkunika has petitioned the Constitutional Court to declare the Lundazi Central parliamentary seat vacant, alleging that the current Independent member of parliament does not hold a full Grade 12 certificate.

Nkunika cited Nyirenda and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) as first and second respondents, stating that ECZ contravened article 70 and 72 of the Constitution when it allowed Nyirenda to contest the Lundazi Central seat without meeting the minimum qualifications.

But in an affidavit in opposition to the petition filed on May 23, Nyirenda disputed all the accusations that Nkunika said against him, saying ECZ was satisfied with his qualifications and that’s why he was allowed to contest the general elections.

He asked the court not to entertain the matter as it had not complied with the time frame set in the Constitution and also to dismiss it with costs.

Nyirenda further asked the Court to join the Attorney General as third respondent to the proceedings, saying the matter was of public policy and required the involvement of government.

He argued that if the Attorney General was not joined, government may be prejudiced by the judgement that may be passed as the matter was of public policy.

However, Nkunika opposed to Nyirenda’s application, saying there was no public interest involved in the alleged flouting of the Constitution by the lawmaker who was merely being called upon to indicate whether he had the requisite qualifications as prescribed in the Constitution or not.

He added that there was no common interest between the Nyirenda and the Attorney General.

Nkunika further stated that if the Attorney General wanted to join the proceedings, he could do so as a friend of the court.

And in his ruling, justice Musaluke noted that Nyirenda had not demonstrated any cause for the Attorney General to be added as a third respondent to the proceedings.

He added that he was not persuaded that the Attorney General should be added as a third respondent.

“Therefore, I am not persuaded that the Attorney General be added as a party to these proceedings,” he stated.

Justice Musaluke however allowed the Attorney General to play a part of a friend of the court to the proceedings.

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