It is very sad that Presidential aspirant Miles Sampa is casting aspersions on the judiciary over the manner in which an injunction was granted to the party chairman Mrs. Inonge Wina. He is hinting at irregularity because his application was not granted.
This is a very dangerous path to take because it undermines the very basis on which the rule of law is based. Our courts of law are our last recourse in conflict resolution. If they are brought into disrepute and sabotaged through innuendo their work will be impaired and it is us the citizens who will suffer more because we will have crippled an institution that is designed to resolve conflicts.
Miles Sampa should instead address the corruption and irregularity charges leveled against the process Guy Scott employed in arriving at the alleged election. It shows a very clear case of contempt of court and law and we expect that appropriate action will be taken to bring him and others responsible to book.
The returning officer, a seasoned lawyer and officer of the court ,has clearly stated he refused to abet illegality. He held meetings with Dr. Scott, Sylvia Masebo and indeed told the gathering that an injunction had been granted against the “congress”. Instead of heeding the counsel Dr. Scott proceeded with the meeting in contumelious disregard of the law. He made the presiding officer conduct an election and count the ballot.
However, as a conscientious lawyer and officer of court, he refused to declare Miles Sampa the winner of the contest because doing so would have been in violation of the law. Such a declaration would have been a certification of the entire process that led to the election.
As it turns out the process was fraught with corruption, vote buying and massive procedural irregularity. The cartel has been accused of dispensing large sums of money to delegates. Given Lubinda and Chishimba Kambwili have further revealed a frightening catalogue of irregularities that characterized the Guy Scott parallel Congress. Declaring such a travesty as a bona fide congress would have been fraudulent.
Given this corruption, Miles Sampa was better served to keep quiet and challenge the Congress in court than make media accusations against the judiciary.
Internal inadequacies and failure to observe the law should not be blamed on external factors; they require introspection and serious self assessment.
The courts should be the last institutions to be attacked. We need the courts to help us resolve our conflicts. Without courts of law individuals would resort to unorthodox ways of settling scores leading to anarchy.
The beauty of our judicial system is that appellate procedures exist. If Miles Sampa and his colleagues feel aggrieved they have every right to lodge a formal complaint as provided for under the law. It will not do however for them to then allege corruption just because an injunction was issued against them.
First of all injunctions are not automatic. A judge must apply his or her mind to the issues before granting or rejecting one and even when it is granted the terms are often restricted to offer the other party an opportunity to respond. In this present case two things have happened. The original convention/Congress convened by Dr. Scott for the 29th of November took place and made very specific resolutions which will stand until the next Congress unless repudiated by the courts of law.
In this regard the National Council and Congress declared the position of President vacant. This is the position that Edgar Lungu has now filled. Guy Scott has no Presidential power anymore. The rest of the organization remains intact- inclusive of the governance institution such as the Central Committee and National Council. The failure to obtain an injunction against the Congress is not the end of the matter. The process can be challenged in a court of law which is at liberty to reverse and declare the process null and void.
It was not for Guy Scott to make such a determination. Only a court of law has power to do so. Todate there has been no challenge in any court against the election of Edgar Lungu.
Blaming the court for the situation is not only unfair but premature and at worst intemperate.