SHEER incompetence by Constitutional Court judges and the failure by petitioners to observe the law should not be allowed to derail the Constitution, Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) president Wright Musoma has charged.
And if the ConCourt proceeds with trial, complaints will be lodged with the Judicial Complaints Authority to trigger suspension and tribunals for their removal as judges for abrogating the Constitution.
He said the Constitutional Court had compromised itself beyond any form of repair and redemption to the extent that an issue of the emotional attachment of the Constitutional Court president to the petitioner was being questioned.
“How could a court be swayed by emotions to abrogate laws of procedure?
It was highly irregular that the Constitutional Court provided a forum and heard the petitioners in the absence of the respondents, President Edgar Lungu and his running mate Inonge Wina, who should have been given an equal opportunity to rebut the submission before the court could make a ruling.
What forces compelled the Constitutional Court to hear the first petitioner? Was it a legal matter or an emotional matter?” Mr Musoma asked.
The very fact that the court made a ruling after 24hrs made the entire exercise null and void. “Time frames are built into constitutions not as ornaments but as guiding lights to ensure effective dispensation of the law,” he said.
He said that there were many cases in Kenya and Uganda where election petitions were dismissed on account of delays in prosecuting them.
Mr Musoma said the Supreme Court in Kenya had made it very clear that judicial jurisdiction was time-bound, stating that the timing provided the meaning, context and legitimacy of petitions and the prescribed time lines.
He cited the case of a petition of Leman Aramat against Harun Lempaka and Isaac Ruto where the Kenya Supreme Court ruled that petitions executed outside the constitutional time lines of 28 days after the declaration of results were null and void because time was of essence.
Mr Musoma said the Kenya court ruled that such a petition was a nullity, therefore, null and void “We should not play with rules because any precedence set by the Constitutional Court will affect all lower courts who will take it that time stipulation in the Constitution mean nothing,” he said.
“Nobody is untouchable and above the law. What happened on Friday is a disgrace that must be dealt with firmly and finally,” he said.