Details of a plot in which the Patriotic Front (PF) attempted to conspire with the Judiciary to frustrate and block strong opposition candidates from filling their nominations are finally emerging.
Judicial sources reveal that only two judges were privy to a scheme in which Judiciary spokesperson Terry Musonda was made to prepare a statement late in the night long after all other Judges had knocked off and distributed to named and selected media houses to cause maximum confusion.
If it was not for the quick action of the ECZ to postpone the nominations, the PF would have fielded its candidates virtually unopposed.
The effect of the statement was to prevent strong opposition candidates including Dora Siliya of Petauke, Maxwell Mwale of Malambo and Hastings Sililo of Mulobezi from recontesting their seats.
Judicial sources have revealed that:
(I) Only two named Supreme Court Judges were privy to the statement.
(II) The statement was made in the night to coincide with the nominations.
(III) The Electoral Commission of Zambia was not served with the statement until the following day.
(IV) There was no formal sitting of the Supreme Court to consider the specific cases of the barred candidates.
At no time did the High Court or indeed the Supreme Court sit as a tribunal to interpret the law and issue an instruction to ECZ to reject nominations from candidates whose elections had previously been nullified.
Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson Justice Irene Mambilima is reported to have been extremely frustrated and angered by a shadow force at the Judiciary that had been deliberately misinterpreting the electoral law on nullifications of parliamentary elections and the consequences.
Justice Mambilima is said to have been angered that for the first time, the Judiciary had decided to issue instructions to the electoral body through a press statement from an officer who was not holding judicial office.
Sources have told the Daily Nation that Justice Mambilima was so shocked that the Judiciary was instructing her to reject the nominations of opposition political party candidates and that she was forced to call Supreme Court Judges Marvin Mwanamwambwa and Elizabeth Muyovwe to find out as to what was happening at the Judiciary.
The sources have revealed that Justice Mambilima was disturbed with current confusion that had engulfed the judiciary and she is said to have observed that the confusion was being perpetrated by people whose interests were politically misplaced.
The source explained the judges at the High Court and the Supreme Court were shocked at the letter allegedly authored by High Court acting registrar Chilombo Maka-Phiri that Judiciary that suggested that the Judiciary had annulled the election of Mutolo Phiri of Chipata Central and Misheck Mutelo of Lukulu West.
The source stated that the rest of the Judges at the High Court and the Supreme Court did not know anything about the press statement from Terry Musonda, the Judiciary public relations officer and the subsequent letter by Maka-Phiri, the acting High Court Registrar.
“To tell you the truth, Justice Mambilima is so frustrated and angry that the judiciary for the first time could instruct ECZ through a letter to reject nominations from candidates whose elections were nullified. Soon after she received the letter, she called Judge Muyovwe and Mwanamwambwa who reportedly expressed ignorance about what was happening.