Church mother bodies blasted

 

VILLAGERS  displaced by  political violence in Namwala are annoyed that the three church mother bodies want to play politics than acknowledge their plight.

The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) have been blasted for ignoring the more than 200 families  in Namwala which were displaced by the violence by UPND cadres who protested the re-election of President Edgar Lungu.

Bowman Lusambo, the Kabushi member of Parliament (MP) has charged that the three Church mother bodies were  being hypocritical for claiming that the Patriotic Front (PF) is perpetrating violence when the truth was that the UPND had committed barbaric acts.

And Mr Lusambo has charged that it was not fair to accuse President Edgar Lungu of  encouraging PF cadres to attack Constitutional Court judges when the Head of State was on record appealing to all political parties to allow the court to discharge its mandate without undue pressure.

Mr Lusambo, said the three Church mother bodies should have commended President Lungu for ‘‘decently and peacefully’’ allowing the rule of law to prevail over his disputed re-election rather than condemning the Head of State.

Mr Lusambo said President Lungu had worked hard to ensure there was peace and order in the country during the period the Constitutional Court was hearing the petition by the UPND demanding the nullification of his re-election which was a rare feat in African democracies.

He said President Lungu has been preaching peace and condemned hooliganism both in the PF and the opposition and that it was surprising that the three Church mother bodies had chosen to ignore the messages of peace and unity from the Head of State. Mr Lusambo said Zambia had never been in a tensed political period as it was now but that the Head of State had calmly held the country together by denouncing  violence wherever it was happening. He said the three Church mother bodies had deliberately elected to ignore the barbaric acts that occurred in Namwala where several families were displaced after they were attacked and had their houses  burnt down by UPND cadres who were protesting the re-election of President Lungu.

“We are surprised as the PF that CCZ, EFZ and ZEC could suggest that the PF and the UPND were warring parties when it has been the opposition party that has been perpetrating violence. The UPND has refused to accept the last general elections results which saw President Lungu emerge winner.  ‘‘In these politically difficult times, President Lungu has exhibited rare leadership qualities and he is the envy of the world. This is Africa where such kind of leadership and magnanimity and respect for the rule of law is rare,” Mr Lusambo said.

Mr Lusambo said the UPND was on record threatening the Constitutional Court judges including threats that it would not accept the verdict of the court and yet Reverend Alfred Kalembo, Bishop Joseph Imakando and Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu  had decided to ignore them.

Mr Lusambo said it was not fair for the three Church mother bodies to condemn President Lungu for the closure of Muvi Television and Komboni Radio, by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA).

2 thoughts on “Church mother bodies blasted

  1. Imwe ba stupid, there are only 150 people not your 200 families bamambala imwe learn to be sincere at times.

  2. The Constitutional Court has set dangerous precedent with regards to both the rule of law, and to the law with specific reference to hearing and determination of any election petition.

    I’m shocked at the casual attitude with which the Constitutional Court has dealt with the matter what is nothing more than emotive appeals in the Presidential election petition and with which the court has been seized these past 3 weeks.

    The decision by the Constitutional Court to extend the time limit allowed by the Constitution for trying a presidential petition has set a most dangerous precedent with regards to both the rule of law, and to the law with specific reference to hearing and determination of election petitions.

    I’m shocked by the casual attitude with which the Constitutional Court has dealt with what is nothing more than emotive appeals in the Presidential election petition and with which the esteemed court has been seized these past 3 weeks.

    Are they serving interest of the zambian populars or an individaul?

    On Thursday 1st September, 2016 Her Ladyship Justice Sitali handed down a ruling to the effect that the said presidential petition would have to be concluded on Friday 2nd September 2016 which would mark the end of the 14 days within which the Constitution stipulates that such a matter should be heard.
    Following spirited representations by counsel for the petitioners, the matter was, quite strangely, referred to the full bench of the court.
    Strange in that Her Ladyship Madam Justice Sitali had handed down a substantive ruling on the matter. We are not aware of any provision in any law, which permits the court to refer a substantive ruling from a Judge of the Court, to the full bench. In effect, this was an appeal lying from a single judge, to the full bench, a most strange procedure whose foundation at law, we are at a loss to discover.
    On Friday 2nd September, 2016 the President of the Constitutional Court, Her Ladyship Madam Justice Chibomba, delivered the substantive ruling of the court: the 14 days stipulated in the Constitution itself, for the hearing of a presidential election petition, would expire at 23:59 on 2nd September 2016.
    The court therefore gave the two sides, up to 23:45 to conclude their submissions.

    At midnight on 2nd September 2016, to our utter shock and dismay, Her Ladyship Madam Justice Chibomba informed the court that, following emotive pleas by the petitioners themselves in person, having been abandoned by their lawyers under the structures imposed by the time bar as stipulated in the ruling by the Constitutional Court itself, the court had decided that the matter would continue on Monday 5th September 2016 .

    In other words, the Constitutional Court would proceed in blatant violation of not only the court’s own ruling, its governing statute and rules and in utter disregard of the Constitution itself.

    I wish to place it on record that the principles inherent in Section 106 Subsection 2 of the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016 are instructive: Both the High Court and Tribunals established under the Act, are instructed to dismiss election petitions which have not been tried and determined within the period specified in the law due to a failure by the petitioner to actively prosecute the petition.

    The Constitutional Court which constantly acknowledged itself as lacking jurisdiction under Order XV Rule 7 of the Constitutional Court Rules, to extend the time limited by the Constitution when trying a petition, decided without jurisdiction and in violation of the said Rule, to set an entirely unlawful precedent for the lower courts, where if the petitioner fails to prosecute the matter within the specified time as provided by law, the petitioner can now rely on the precedent now set by the Constitutional Court, to proceed with hearing under this unfortunate precedent which now stops any lower Court or tribunal from dismissing such a petition under Section 106 Subsection 2 of the Electoral Process Act for want of prosecution.

    With regards to the hearing of the presidential election petition, it had become quite noticeable that the Constitutional Court had first given the litigants different directions, variously to the effect that the main petition was to be heard from Friday 2nd September 2016 extending into time outside the 14 days as stipulated by law. The subsequent change of its earlier position created uncertainty among both petitioners and respondents, which further delayed the hearing of the petition within the required time frame which, according to the Constitution itself, ended on September 2, 2016.

    The Constitutional Court ought to have taken responsibility for the confusion caused to both parties to this petition, resulting in counsel for the petitioners walking out of Court.
    YALI is therefore deeply concerned that while the Constitutional Court failed to take charge of the proceedings from the start, the precedent set by the Court will have serious implications in the manner the High Court and Tribunals will have to deal with similar situations that may arise before them during trial of parliamentary and local government elections petitions.
    For instance, if the High Court dismissed a petition under Section 106 subsection 2 because the petitioner failed to prosecute it within the time line provided in the law, and if the petitioner lodged an appeal before the Constitutional Court, how would the Court protect the rule of law and ensure enforcement of Section 106 Subsection 2 if the petitioner made reference to the precedent set by the Constitutional Court itself as described in the presidential election petition currently before it?

    The Constitutional Court ought to be alive to the fact that the precedent it has set, will be cited by either petitioners or respondents who are ruled to have failed to prosecute a matter within the time frame set by the Constitution, and wish to prolong petitions in Court, a mischief which we have sought to cure by amending the Constitution thus.

    Zambians should not be taken for granted and do not need to be taken back to the old ways of doing things where, if government wanted to punish an uncooperative member of parliament, they would resort to underhand methods such as those employed in the Dora Siliya petition, in which the ruling party simply elected not to prosecute the matter knowing that the could could not compel the parties to conclude the matter, thereby denying the people of Petauke Central constituency of representation in their parliament.

    It is position that the decision by the Constitutional Court to extend the presidential election petition is patently illegal and unlawful and punishablle.To allow the Petitioners’ plaintive cries for a hearing amounts to allowing them to appeal against the Court’s own ruling as handed down by the President of the Court on 2nd September, 2016. It is also a violation of Article 128 of the Constitution itself which stipulates that the decisions of this court are final and cannot be appealed against.

    Finally this decision to extend the hearing is illegal in that the Rules of the Constitutional Court do not permit the court to extend the time limited by the Constitution and to review its own decisions.The ruling handed down by the President of the Court, that the hearing of the presidential election petition was to conclude at 23:45 on Friday 2nd September 2016 was final and irreversible, and could not be appealed against.

    I urge the court to strictly observe provisions of the Constitution which are binding on the Court and bring the presidential election petition to an immediate end as it became time-barred as from midnight of 2nd September, 2016.
    There after, judges should face tribunal.

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