Lungu wins again
THE Constitutional Court has dismissed the UPND presidential petition challenging the re-election of President Edgar Lungu, admitting it was unconstitutional for the court to have decided to extend by four days the hearing when it had no jurisdiction to extend the 14 days constitutional time limit.
Delivering the ruling before a packed court yesterday, Constitutional Court Justice Annie Sitali stated that there would be no benefit to either party with the breach of the provisions of the Constitution when the court had no jurisdiction to change the time frame for hearing the petition beyond the prescribed 14 days period.
She said the Constitutional Court had neither jurisdiction nor any power whatsoever to extend the time outside the 14 days for hearing as it would be a nullity, as stated and mandatory by law.
“The petitioners needed to present evidence in support of the allegations they made against the respondents which they failed to do. In the absence of the evidence to support the allegations, the courts could not make any findings of fact or make determinations. She explained that the petitioners’ lawyers who included State Counsel have no one to blame but themselves for the time wasted in arguing preliminaries when they were well aware of the time limit to present and conclude their case.
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and his running mate Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba yesterday lost their petitioned in the Constitutional Court in which they challenged the re-election of President Lungu and his running mate Inonge Wina bringing to an end anxieties and suspension about Zambia’s political atmosphere.
Constitutional Court president Justice Hilda Chibomba sitting with Justice Sitali, lady justices Mungeni Mulenga and Margaret Munalula and Mr Justcie Palan Mulonda announced that a majority vote had revealed a new position for the court, against its own order on September 2, 2016.
She explained that the court was prepared to hear the matter within the 14 day period, but that from the onset, the petitioners failed to work expeditiously within the time provided for in the Constitution, that even to the last day, they kept bring applications before the court.
She said it was apparent the petitioners’ lawyers simply had no intention of putting any witness on the stand as they kept raising preliminaries and requested that they file bundles, and ultimately at a late hour decided to withdraw from representing the petitioners citing lack of adequate time for the matter.
“Even after the court directed that the trial would run and conclude on 2nd September, 2016, being the last day of hearing, the petitioner chose to file a number of interlocutory applications, which consumed most of the time, at the expense of ensuring the petition was heard within the specified time,” he said.