The Constitutional Court has referred back to the High Court, a matter in which four Lozi traditional loyalists want the Litunga of Western Province, Edwin Lubosi Imwiko, to resign from the throne for alleged gross incompetence and abuse of authority.
A panel of five Constitutional Court judges ruled that they had no jurisdiction to deal with the matter because no constitutional question was framed for their determination by the High Court.
In this matter, Nabiwa Imikendu, Litia Mutemwa, Mukubesa Ilukena and Mubisho Liswaniso want the Litunga of Western Province, Imwiko to resign from the throne for alleged gross incompetence and abuse of power.
The matter was commenced in the Mongu High Court but it was transferred to the Lusaka High Court.
And in March 2017, High Court Judge Gertrude Chawatama referred the matter to the Constitutional Court, noting that a number of issues had arisen that required the determination of the said Court.
And when the matter came up for continued hearing before Constitutional Court judges Hildah Chibomba, Annie Sitali, Mungeni Mulenga, Palan Mulonda and Martin Musaluke, Tuesday, the four applicants made a preliminary application in which they wanted the court to order the Litunga’s lawyers to re-write the record of proceedings filed in the matter.
The second applicant, Mutemwa argued that the record proceedings prepared by the Litunga’s lawyers was inaccurate in that certain things were omitted, adding that there were errors and hand written comments by lawyers and they feared that the same would prejudice the applicants.
But lawyers representing the Litunga argued that the records of proceedings were based on the documents filed into court and that the applicants may not have understood the numbering of the paragraphs in the record.
Lubinda Linyama argued that the applicants who are unrepresented, have not even cited any provision of the law in their application for calling for the re-writing of the record of proceedings.
Another lawyer, Mwangala Zalomouis said the applicants had an opportunity to file a supplementary record of proceedings to correct what they deemed inaccurate.
As the matter continued, Lubinda made an application to dismiss the matter for want of prosecution but however applied to have the application withdrawn after the court’s guidance on the matter.
And Sakwiba Sikota, another lawyer representing the Litunga applied that the matter be sent back to the High Court as the ConCourt had no jurisdiction to hear it.
The four applicants did not object to the application and added that they would be happy for the matter to be sent back to the High Court so that they could be heard on the main matter.
In a ruling which was delivered later in the day, the five Constitutional Court judges sent the record back to the High Court for determination of the matter and made no order as to costs.
The court ruled that in the absence of a constitutional question, the matter was not properly before them and that being the case, they had no jurisdiction to deal with it.
“A perusal of the record herein revealed that in referring the matter to this court, no constitutional question was framed for our determination by the High Court contrary to the requirement of Article 128(2) of the Constitution. In the absence of the constitutional question, this matter is not properly before us. We therefore, send the record back to the High Court for determination of the matter. We make no order for costs,” ruled Justice Chibomba.