FORMER Foreign Affairs minister Joseph Malanji has submitted to the Constitutional Court that it will be unfair for him to lose his Kwacha parliamentary seat on grounds that he has no grade 12 certificate when the High Court did not ask him to produce it.
But Kwacha constituency UPND losing candidate Charles Mulenga, who petitioned Malanji’s seat in the High Court, has argued that the trial court was on firm ground when it arrived at the conclusion that Malanji was not qualified to contest as MP because he did not possess a grade 12 certificate.
In November last year, Lusaka High Court judge Kazimbe Chenda nullified Malanji’s seat on grounds that he did not have a grade 12 certificate as required by the law and as such, he did not qualify to stand as a member of parliament.
Malanji, however, challenged the High Court’s decision in the Constitutional Court and later moved a motion, asking the court to allow him to produce his grade 12 certificate as part of his evidence in the matter.
The motion was however rejected by the Constitutional Court saying Malanji should have produced the grade 12 certificate in the trial court and not at appeal stage.
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, Malanji asked a panel of five Constitutional Court judges; Annie Sitali, Mungeni Mulenga, Prof Margaret Munalula, Palan Mulonda and Judy Mulongoti to reverse the High Court’s decision.
Joseph Chirwa, one of Malanji’s lawyers, argued that the trial court fell into grave error when it entertained the challenge to an election on the basis of not having a grade 12 certificate and that it was in want of jurisdiction, as it had no jurisdiction to do so.
He said Malanji during trial told the court that he had a grade 12 certificate and further told the court which school he obtained it from, the year and where it was at the moment he appeared before court.
Chirwa submitted that despite having explained to the court that his certificate was at home because he did not know that he was supposed to take it to court, judge Chenda nullified his seat instead of asking him to take the same to court.
And Benjamin Mwelwa, who was also representing Malanji, said if the court does not reverse the High Court’s decision, the same would cause confusion in the jurisdiction as far as the related petitions were concerned.
Mwelwa argued that the trial court shifted the burden of proof from Mulenga to Malanji and he was not happy about it.
And Mulenga’s lawyer, Machayi Kasaji, opposed the arguments advanced by Malanji’s lawyers and further urged the court to dismiss the appeal and maintain that the appellant had no grade 12 certificate, as such he did not qualify to contest the seat.
“We wish to submit from onward that the trial court was on firm ground when it held that Malanji did not meet the requirement at the time he was elected as MP for Kwacha constituency,” said Kasaji.
Meanwhile, the court reserved judgement in the matter to May 5, 2022.