Patriotic Front (PF)’s attempt to block former opposition Members of Parliament, (MPs) whose seats were nullified on account of electoral corruption, from recontesting, has suffered a blow after the Supreme Court in a landmark judgement yesterday ruled in favour of the former legislators.
This is in a matter in which the PF applied to the Supreme Court seeking an order that former Zambezi West MP Charles Kakoma, Vincent Mwale of Malambo, Eustaskio Kazonga of Vubwi, Victoria Kalima of Kasenengwa and Lucky Mulusa of Solwezi East should be blocked from recontesting their seats after they were nullified.
The Supreme Court ruling also means that former Petauke Central MP Dora Siliya and her counterparts from Malambo Maxwell Mwale and Hastings Sililo of Mulobezi constituencies may also be free to recontest their seats as they face similar circumstances.
The case of the trio was commenced after Judiciary public relations officer Terry Musonda issued an administrative memorandum instructing the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) ordering the commission not to accept their nomination. The case of Ms Siliya, Mr Mwale and Mr Sililo took a bizarre legal trajectory when it was revealed in the Supreme Court that PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba authored a letter on the ruling party’s letterhead instructing acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda to consider nullifying their seats. But the Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the relief sought by the PF that the former opposition MPs should be blocked from recontesting their seats because the application lacked merit. In delivering the judgment, acting Supreme Court Judge Marvin Mwanamwambwa said the application by the PF to block the former MPs from recontesting their seats had no merit. He was sitting with Justices Hildah Chibomba,Gregory Phiri, Justice Munyinda Wankie, Irene Lengalenga, Justice Evans Hamaundu and Justice Muyovwe The Judges said it was incumbent upon the High Court to determine whether the former MPs had committed electoral corruption and make a report to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to commence prosecution. “We have intensely considered the arguments by both the applicants and the respondents on whether the Supreme Court can order the High Court to prepare a report on the allegations of electoral corruption. If we are going to allow this motion, we would be litigating and we find this application with no merit and is therefore dismissed,” Judge Phiri said in delivering the judgment on whether Mr Kakoma could recontest the Zambezi West parliamentary seat or not. And Mr Mulusa said he was happy with the ruling and that he was looking forward to the ECZ to set the date for the by-elections in all the constituencies that did not have representation. Mr Mulusa said the path the PF had taken of depriving constituencies of representation should be stopped because Zambians were being denied development on account that they could not be represented in Parliament. “What we have gone through with the PF should never ever be repeated. The mistakes the PF are making have cost this country but I am happy that the Judiciary is correcting the wrongs of government. The PF have been breaching the constitution by making some constituencies have no MPs for 13 months and this has caused a lot of damage,” Mr Mulusa said.