There is a serious disjoint between the High Court and the Supreme Court that has raised suspicions because of the number of seats that were upheld as duly elected at the High Court level being nullified at the Supreme Court, opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has said.
He was echoing a statement by Chipata Central Member of Parliament Mtolo Phiri who said that the Supreme Court of Zambia appears to be a machete wing of the Patriotic Front.
Making submissions on the debate in the Ministry of Justice, Phiri said that the highest arm of the judiciary, the Supreme Court was actually a place which has lost integrity.
He said that as it appeared today the Supreme Court was a machete wing of the Patriotic Front regime which had lost integrity.
“Chair, today the Supreme Court is actually a place which has lost integrity. As we stand it appears that the Supreme Court is a machete wing of the executive which is wrong. We are actually comfortable to have cases handled at the High Court rather than at the Supreme Court because the ruling that will come out is almost predictable,” said Phiri.
He observed that there was conflict in the dispensation of justice in the judiciary, adding that the current trends did not give confidence to the people of Zambia.
Hichilema charged that the nullification of so many parliamentary seats by the courts speaks volumes about the credibility of Zambia’s electoral process adding that it was a waste of resources on by-elections after the 2011 presidential and parliamentary.
Hichilema wondered why they were hailed as free and fair elections by many organisations following the PF victory in 2011 when the same free and fair elections has led to so many seats, especially those belonging to the opposition being nullified by the courts.
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema said this following the nullification of Solwezi Central Constituency seat by the Supreme Court.
“It is also important to clearly define what constitutes electoral corruption because todate, the PF have gotten away with a number of clear electoral malpractices such as open donations, intimidation of voters, violence, and fake promises even before they came into office and the practice has since continued,” Hichilema said.
Hichilema wondered why the ruling Patriotic Front government was so reluctant on constitutional reforms that would address the ills of the electoral process among other things after all the anomalies identified in the electoral process.
The opposition leader wondered whether it was not a clear case of electoral fraud on the part of PF to win an election based on promising to restore the Barotse Agreement within 90 days and later denounce and arrest those advocating for it.
“Is it also not electoral fraud for the PF to have openly campaigned and won elections on the promise of delivering a people driven constitution within 90 days and later refuse to release even a single copy of the draft constitution after almost three years of being in power. Is it not fraud to win an election on the promise of lower taxes and more money in people’s pockets, yet reverse and remove fuel and mealie meal subsidies that has made the cost of living even more miserable?
“I am sure many more by-elections will be created through nullifications, in which sense, one would argue that maybe the Supreme Court should nullify the entire 2011 electoral process so we go for fresh elections than wasting money on piece meal elections that still amount to almost an entire parliamentary election,” he said.
He said assuming the nullifications were genuine, it was therefore clear that the whole process was marred by corrupt activities, and abrogation of the electoral code of conduct which essentially nullifies the entire 2011 presidential and general elections.
Hichilema revealed that he was aware of a scheme by the PF, of wanting to have a parliamentary majority to enable them manipulate the constitution and other laws but however reminded the ruling PF that Zambians were getting sick and tired of such schemes.
“I love Zambia and Zambians, we are so peaceful and tolerant. For now, the PF are treating us like people who have to apologies even when our toes are stepped on. Where on earth have you ever seen so many nullifications and costly induced by-elections and yet people keep lining-up to go and vote again and again?” he questioned.
He said what was even more painful is that the resources being wasted on these by-elections, were borrowed money as the government was basically bankrupt going by their appetite to enter into huge loans, because of their quest for power.
“Can you imagine of the seven pending by-elections each costing about K10 billion (old currency), only Katuba in Central Province can be regarded as genuine due to unfortunate loss of an MP. The rest namely Malambo, Vubwi, and Petauke in Eastern Province, Mulobezi in Western Province, Zambezi West and now Solwezi Central in North-Western Province are basically PF induced by-elections and we hear more are still coming, and yet people are quiet,” he said.