THE Constitutional Court has overturned the High Court’s decision to nullify Mutotwe Kafwaya’s election and has since declared him as the duly elected Lunte PF member of parliament.
And Kafwaya says the judgement gives him confidence in the country’s judicial system.
Constitutional Court judge Annie Sitali who delivered the judgement on behalf of four other ConCourt judges, said High Court judge Wilfred Muma who nullified Kafwaya’s seat last year in November did not demonstrate in his judgement that the allegations of bribery and undue influence were proved to the required standard.
Judge Sitali said the trial court did not analysis evidence on record from both parties to come up with the conclusion of nullifying the seat and that its conclusion was based on the presumption that Kafwaya had committed the allegations.
She said the grounds of appeal had merit, warranting the Constitutional Court to reverse the holding of the High Court.
“We are of the view that the respondents did not prove that the bribery and undue influence were perpetrated by the appellant and the appeal succeeds. Therefore, we set aside the nullification by the lower court and declare the appellant, Mutotwe Kafwaya, as duly elected Member of Parliament for Lunte constituency. Each party to bear its own costs,” judge Sitali said.
And commenting on the outcome, Kafwaya said he would now serve his people, saying he was previously restrained from thoroughly celebrating his election victory because of the court case.
“It is just important now to go back to serve the people. I was restrained from thoroughly celebrating my victory because of this court process, but now since the court has finally determined that I was duly elected, which I am grateful, I will go back to the people of Lunte now and we see how we can serve them. But I have to thank this good lawyer honourable Tutwa Ngulube and his team. This man stood with me every step of the way. He ensured that we achieved this victory together. Also, I would like to recognise the decent work that has been done by the Constitutional Court. I think that it is clear to me now that you can be unfairly treated like I was by the High Court, but a mistake of one person can be reversed by five good people. So those five good judges just did the right thing. There is no argument and I have to praise them for their work,” he said.
When asked whether the judgement gave him confidence in the judicial system, Kafwaya responded in the affirmative.
“As I said, it does. Because one person can make a mistake like the case was at the High Court but it’s very difficult for five good judges to make a similar mistake. The Constitutional Court today has proved that it produces judgements based on facts, based on proper analysis,” said Kafwaya.
Judge Muma, who sat in Kasama, nullified Kafwaya’s seat on grounds that he engaged in electoral malpractices which were widespread and prevented the people from voting for a candidate of their choice.
This was after UPND losing candidate Katongo Chasaya petitioned the election of Kafwaya, alleging electoral malpractices.
But being dissatisfied with the High Court’s decision, Kafwaya appealed to the Constitutional Court and filed 11 grounds of appeal.
Kafwaya stated that the trial judge erred in law and fact when he failed to warn himself against receiving evidence from partisan witnesses.
He further argued that the trial court erred in law and fact when he held that there were widespread malpractices.