ConCourt reserves ruling in Mwanakatwe case

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 10:55:09 +0000

THE Constitutional Court has reserved its ruling for a stay of execution of judgment in a matter in which Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe appealed against the refusal by the High Court to grant her an application for stay following the nullification of the Lusaka Central seat.

The Constitutional Court reserved ruling to a later date after hearing arguments from both parties.

In her appeal, Ms Mwanakatwe submitted that the judgment indicated that it had upheld five out of the six grounds filed in the petition, but that the learned judge erred in fact and in law when he alleged that the violence allegedly perpetrated by the Patriotic Front (PF) members in Mtendere was a misapprehension of facts.

She explained that the judge misdirected himself when he accepted to admit evidence shown clearly to be untrue, which her witnesses demonstrated to the court on several issues.

Ms Mwanakatwe argued that even the allegation that events of August 8, 2016, affected the decision of the majority voters in the constituency did not adduce any such evidence.

Ms Mwanakatwe also applied for a stay to restrain the execution of the judgment pending hearing and determination of the appeal, as not granting her a stay would in turn allow the Electoral Commission of Zambia to declare her seat vacant for fresh elections.

And the petitioner Charlotte Scott requested the court to dismiss Ms Mwanakatwe’s appeal to stay the execution of judgment.

She submitted that it was not tenable at law that the court should stay such a judgment, which would result in the perpetuation of an unlawful act.

This was in response to the appeal filed by Ms Mwanakatwe who requested the Constitutional Court to overturn the decision of the High Court Justice Mwiinde Siavwapa who nullified her parliamentary seat based on electoral malpractices as presented by Dr Scott in her petition.

Dr Scott, who was the losing candidate on the UPND ticket, challenged the stay application, saying Ms Mwanakatwe was not clothed with the legitimacy to claim the right to sit in Parliament as a representative of the constituency, as her election was found to be fraudulent and marred with malpractices, hence the nullification.

She explained that the appeal lacked merit and was unlikely to succeed and so ought not to be granted, and that the status quo to be maintained was that the High Court had nullified the seat, hence the vacancy which would ensure that neither of the parties would have undue advantage over the others, “and that is the status quo that must be maintained pending the conclusion of the appeal process before the Constitutional Court,” Dr Scott said.

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