HIGH Court Justice Mwila Chitabo has declared that the inauguration of President Edgar Lungu will go ahead as scheduled on Tuesday next week after an application by Hakainde Hichilema and Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba to halt the swearing in ceremony was denied yesterday.
Judge Chitabo also ruled that he had no jurisdiction to grant Mr Hichilema and Mr Mwamba interim relief the duo were seeking under Article 28 and therefore, denied the two UPND leaders the reliefs they were seeking.
This is in a matter in which UPND leader Hichilema and his vice Mwamba sought a Conservatory Order to restrain Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima and her deputy Justice Marvin Mwanamwambwa from swearing in Mr Edgar Lungu and his running mate Ms Inonge Wina.
Mr Justice Chitabo in delivering his ruling yesterday said there was nothing in the Republican Constitution that could be cited to halt an inauguration of President Lungu after he was declared winner of the August 11 general elections.
“I have no jurisdiction to grant interim relief sought under Article 28. They are denied with costs,” Justice Chitabo said.
Solicitor General Abram Mwansa explained to the press that under the law, there was no Order that could be made by the High Court to grant any interim reliefs in the matter at hand.
“The Court is bound by the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of the Attorney General verses the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) that there is no Order that can be made by the High Court or Supreme Court under Article 28 to order any interim relief. There are no provisions under our Constitution, the inauguration goes on,” he said.
And the High Court has observed that Mr Hichilema had made too many of the same applications in other courts including the Constitutional Court, which barred them to make a ruling on the Attorney General, Likando Kalaluka’s application to cite the opposition leader as a vexatious litigant.
Mr Justice Chitabo said while the Attorney General’s application was correctly before court, the petitioner had several other matters in other cases thus they could not make a ruling.
“The court was of the view that maybe it is not an appropriate application for now so that application was not granted for the simple reason that there are still ongoing matters in the Constitutional Court,” he said.
Meanwhile, UPND lawyer Keith Mweemba has indicated that for the benefit of the nation, the Supreme Court must be allowed to revisit the matter in an appeal by the petitioners.
He said his client was already set for a renewed application before the Supreme Court for an order to award the petitioners reliefs to secure the enforcement of their rights from suffering any harm as a result of the inauguration.