MUSICIANS involved in civil activism have written Chief Justice Irene Mambilima, requesting her to intervene in a matter where they sued the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) in the Lusaka High Court but the matter has not taken off.
In this matter, musicians Chama Fumba popularly knowns as Pilato, Maiko Zulu, Brian Bwembya, also known as B-Flow, and two others, applied for leave in the Lusaka High Court to commence Judicial Review proceedings against the decision of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to compel duly registered voters to present themselves before registration officers for verification under a new register for the 2021 general elections.
When the matter came up on September 22, it could not take off as Judge-in-charge Gertrude Chawatama was reportedly in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19.
In a letter signed by Pilato, Thursday, the artists said the matter was urgent.
“Dear Your Ladyship, as citizens in our beloved country Zambia, we feel that we have a right and duty to contribute to good governance, human rights and social well being of all people. It is in this regard that we started an action against the Electoral Commission of Zambia. We strongly feel that the current voters registration exercise will disenfranchise a lot of Zambians and that this is not allowed by the law. Most importantly, we brought this action in the courts of law based on our individual and collective desire to see to it that important questions of governance are addressed by our courts. We filed our case on the 11th of September 2020, despite the matter being extremely urgent it took some time to allocate the matter. 11 days later on 21st September, 2020 our matter was supposed to be heard,” read the letter in part.
“However, it was adjourned due to the fact that the judge was in self isolation as she had been in contact with a person exposed to Covid-19. We understand that we are living in uncertain times with the Covid-19 pandemic and as such we wish the judge, a well and quick recovery in the event that she caught the infection. In this light we wish to express our sincere concern that while we understand the public health reasons for isolation, this may lead to delay in the determination of a matter which is urgent and should be of interest to every Zambian,”
Pilato stated that it was the desire of the petitioners to enter into an election year without many unresolved issues surrounding the electoral process.
“Our concern comes from the need to ensure that our case is not overtaken by events bearing in mind the time frame set for the registration. It is our desire to ensure that we enter into an election year without so many unresolved issues surrounding the electoral process. In this regard the speedy resolution of this and other like matters is urgent to ensure a smooth election period,” stated Pilato.
“We have a chance to develop our democracy and tell the world how mature we are, hence, no matter the outcome, at least the matter can be treated with the time sensitivity that the subject demands. It is not our place to request or ask you to act according to our wishes but you agree that this matter requires urgent attention as such if the Judge allocated to deal with our case is in isolation shouldn’t the matter be reallocated in view of the urgency. We thank you most sincerely and wish you and all the other judges and court officials good health in these uncertain times”