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Kabushi, Kwacha goes to vote


A HIGH Court order to stay the Kabushi and Kwacha parliamentary by-elections was yesterday annulled by the Constitutional Court and instead the elections are proceeding today as scheduled by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).

Yesterday, the Constitutional Court ruled that the 21 days in which the High Court was expected to determine the Kabushi and Kwacha by-elections had elapsed, thus, the order suspending the elections was null and void.

And Jack Mwiimbu, the Minister of Home and Infernal Affairs told Parliament that the Constitutional Court had delivered a ruling to nullify the High Court Order that had earlier stayed the by-elections in Kabushi and Kwacha and   that the elections were going to proceed as scheduled.

Mr Mwiimbu took time to congratulate the ECZ and the Attorney General for putting up a spirited fight to ensure that the by-elections in Kabushi and Kwacha were conducted within the law.

President Hakainde Hichilema was for two days on the Copperbelt for a working visit and took time to interact with citizens in both Kabushi and Kwacha. 

It its judgement rendered yesterday, the Concourt stated that the 21 days in Article 52(4) could not be stopped or enlarged by any court or authority.

The Court also affirmed that the Court of Appeal did not not have jurisdiction to hear appeals to cases whatsoever dealing with Article 52(4) of the Constitution.

This is a matter in which United Party for National Development (UPND) candidate for Kabushi Mr Bernard Kanengo sought interpretation on whether pursuant to Article 52(4) of the constitution, the prescribed period of 21 days within which to hear a challenge relating to nominations of a candidate can stop running by virtue of a stay of proceedings.

The  three member bench of Judges; Palan Mulonda, Mugeni Mulenga and Judy Mulongoti interpreted that Article 52(4) in its ordinary meaning means that all cases filed before a court of competent jurisdiction should be concluded within 21 days.

“In obiter we wish to state that the Court of Appeal does not have jurisdiction to hear appeals to cases whatsoever dealing with Article 52(4) of the Constitution. Nevertheless, that stay order had it issued had to be obeyed even though erroneously issued and remains in force until discharged or set aside. Thus, the High Court had to abide the Court of Appeal stay order and ran out of time as the 21 days have since expired,” said the Court.

But earlier in the day yesterday, the Court of Appeal observed cautioned that Kabushi and Kwacha Parliamentary by-elections were stopped by the High Court order and that the stay in the two constituencies before the High Court was still in effect.

Justice Justin Chashi who sat with Justices Mwiinde Siavwapa and Kelvin Muzenga said the court had no jurisdiction to grant a stay suspending today’s elections.

“Wat is before us has nothing to do with the main elections. We will not add confusion to confusion. We do sympathise with the situation but our hands are tied,” said Judge Chashi.

This was after the duo’s lawyers Tutwa Ngulube and Makebi Zulu asked the Court to declare the elections illegal.

The State had appealed against the ruling of the High Court suspending the elections.

Meanwhile, earlier yesterday, Acting Chief Justice Royda Kaoma adjourned all the matters involving the Attorney General from October 19 to October 21, 2022.


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