MALANJI TO APPEAL NULLIFICATION OF SEAT
By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
FORMER Foreign Affairs minister Joe Malanji says he will appeal against the Lusaka High Court judgement in which it nullified his election as Kwacha Constituency Member of Parliament (MP) on the Patriotic Front ticket on account that he does not possess a Grade 12 certificate or its equivalent.
Mr Malanji in an interview after High Court Judge Kazimbe Chenda declared his seat void said that he will prove in the higher court that he has a Grade 12 certificate, therefore was qualified to contest the elections on August 12,2021.
In this matter, losing UPND candidate Charles Abel Mulenga petitioned the election of Mr Malanji, citing illegal practices that included bribery , corruption and that he did not possess the minimum academic qualification set by Article 70 (4) (d) of the Constitution.
When the matter came up for Judgement yesterday, Mr Justice Chenda dismissed the claims of malpractice alleged by the petitioner on grounds that he had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Malanji or his agents did engage in such practices.
However, the Judge said it had been proven to the satisfaction of the court that at the time of Mr Malanji’s re-election, he was not eligible for election on account of his not meeting the minimum academic qualification set by article 70(1)(d)of the constitution.
Mr Justice Chenda said that Mr Malanji did not fail to produce to the court Grade 12 certificate which he presented during nomination nor did the Returning Officer do so during testimony.
“I accordingly invoke Section 99 (a) of the Electoral Process Act and declare that the first respondent’s re-election on 12th August 2021 as Member of Parliament for Kwacha constituency to be void. I this order that the petitioner will have costs against the first respondent while the second respondent will have its costs against the petitioner, to be taxed in default of agreement,” ordered judge Chenda.
But Mr Malanji who expressed disappointment with the outcome of the petition insisted that he was not told that he needed to produce the certificate in court.
“ I have a Grade 12 certificate and I will prove so. I am definitely appealing against this judgement because it is unfair,” he said.
Mr Mulenga said he was happy that justice has been served and only legally elected leaders should seat in Parliament.