‘Constitutional Court will enhance justice’

THE establishment of the Constitution Court as prescribed in clause 128 of the Constitutional Bill No. 17 of 2015 will improve the jurisprudence of the nation, Lusaka based lawyer Kelvin Bwalya Fube has said.

Mr Fube said constitutional matters would now be interpreted by specific lawyers and court, thereby improving the jurisprudence of the nation.

Clause 128 states that: ‘‘There is established the Constitutional Court which consists of the President of the Constitutional Court, Deputy President of the Constitutional Court, and eleven other judges or a higher number of judges, as prescribed.’’

According to 129 (1) the Constitutional Court has original and final jurisdiction to hear a matter relating to the interpretation of the Constitution and other matters relating to a violation or contravention of the Constitution.

The Constitution court will also have the original and final jurisdiction to hear a matter relating to the President, Vice-President or an election of a President, appeals relating to election of Members of Parliament and councillors, and whether or not a matter falls within the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court.

In an interview with the Daily Nation, Mr Fube said the establishment of a Constitutional Court sends a right of protection against citizens’ constitutional rights and arbitral abuse.

He said it would also help resolve different matters relating to electoral petitioning.

“Under the current Constitution an election petition to with the President can take many years but the new Constitution allows such a petition to be heard within seven days. This means that a petition can be filed against a President and heard within seven days before being sworn in,” Mr Fube said.

He said the Constitutional Court would have seven days in which to determine the Presidential election petition as opposed to so many years before.

Mr Fube said for parliamentary by-elections days for hearing petitions would be reduced from 180 to 14 days in which to resolve elections matters.

“It will really speed up the hearing process of elections petitions. The Constitutional Court will help solve a lot of problems,” he said.

Mr Fube said countries like South Africa that had established Constitutional Courts had improved jurisprudence.

Mr Fube however cautioned the appointment of the eleven judges for the constitutional courts.

He said those who would be appointed as constitutional court judges should have full understanding of the constitution adding that constitutional law was beyond boarder (broad).

Mr Fube said the Constitutional Court was universally accepted, adding the judges who would be appointed on the panel must fully understand their task.