UPND petition to go on until next week


THE Constitutional Court has reserved ruling regarding the application seeking amendments to the main Petition by lawyers for Hakainde Hichilema and his running mate Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba.

Judge Ann Sitali stated that the ruling would be rendered on Thursday.

And lawyers for President Edgar Lungu have objected to the proposed amendments.

Last week, the lawyers for Hakainde Hichilema suffered a major setback when the Constitutional Court struck off the record 52 witness statements and bundle of documents from the main petition for irregularities and want of time.

Since then the lawyers for opposition leaders have sought amendments to their petition to include grounds of a recount of Lusaka constituencies and Lundazi Central.

The lawyers also are seeking to include more witnesses to the case.

But lawyers for President Lungu have argued that if the amendments were allowed this would need to reply and this might fall outside the constitutional stated time limit.

And petition in which the UPND is seeking the nullification of the election of President Edgar Lungu will not be concluded until next week Thursday, Constitutional Court judge Annie Sitali has ordered.

Justice Sitali has directed that all preliminary issues before the Constitutional Court should be concluded by Thursday 1st September, 2016 in readiness for commencement of trial in the main matter on Friday.

Controversy arose over the limitation of time-frame to hear a presidential elections petition whose constitutional period was restricted to 14 days from the day of filing the petition.

UPND lawyers contended that the 14 days period should come to an end next week Thursday because the Constitutional Court did not sit during weekends and yesterday, Justice Sitali hinted that the petition would have to be concluded next week on Thursday.

The lawyers said the 14 days should only be counted from Monday to Friday with an exception of Saturday and Sunday because they were not official working days.