THE Constitutional Court, to which Mutembo Nchito filed an application in a desperate bid to block and stop the tribunal which is currently sitting and probing him for incompetence and abuse of authority of office, will only be operational once the ratification process by Parliament is concluded.
Mr. Nchito has petitioned the yet-to-be established Constitutional Court to block the proceedings of the tribunal, claiming its sittings had been rendered illegal after the amendment of the Constitution which President Edgar Lungu signed on January 5, 2016.
But High Court registrar Mathews Zulu yesterday told the Daily Nation that by law, the operations of the Constitutional Court will depend on how quick the ratification process by Parliament will be.
Meanwhile, the tribunal is operating on the transitional clause of the law in the constitution of Zambia Article 16 which clearly states that all on-going tribunals and court actions would continue until they were concluded by the same institutions.
He said the process on the appointment of the judges, which started with the Judicial Service Commission’s recommendation of the names of the judges and the presidential appointments, would only conclude and guarantee its operations once ratification was done.
Mr. Zulu said the operation of the Constitutional Court will depend on how quick the ratification process is concluded but assured that as soon as that was done, the court will start its work.
He said the commission and the President had done their part and that what remained was for the National Assembly to conclude the process.
“The Judicial Service Commission made a recommendation to the President on the names of the people that were expected to serve on the Constitutional Court and he committed them to Parliament for ratification and once the process is concluded, the court will start its operations immediately.
‘‘So, it will depend on how long the process will take but everything is already in place because we already have the registry,” Mr. Zulu said.
Clause 128 states that: ‘‘There is established the Constitutional Court which consists of the President of the Constitutional Court, Deputy President of the Constitutional Court, and eleven other judges or a higher number of judges, as prescribed.’’
According to Article 129 (1) the court will have original and final jurisdiction to hear any matter relating to the interpretation of the Constitution and other matters relating to a violation or contravention of the Constitution.
The Constitutional Court will also have the original and final jurisdiction to hear a matter relating to the President, Vice-President or an election of a President, appeals relating to election of Members of Parliament and councillors, and whether or not a matter falls within the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court.
Last month, Attorney General Likando Kalaluka assured that Zambia will have an operational Constitutional Court and Court of Appeal before the August 11 general elections.