UPND rejects Concourt ruling


OPPOSITION United Party for National Development has rejected the Constitutional Court ruling which threw out its petition challenging the re-election of President Edgar Lungu on August 11, 2016.

UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka said in a statement yesterday:

“We wish to tell the nation that we have rejected the court ruling in that the judgment was passed on an application from the respondents without allowing us to respond.

“How can the court tell us to prepare for a hearing and then come to deliver a judgment? This is the question we as petitioners have among other questions,” Mr Katuka said.

In a statement issued to the Daily Nation, Mr Katuka told party members across the country that they had not lost the August 11 election, adding that neither had they lost the petition which was before the Constitutional Court.

Mr Katuka called on members of the UPND to remain strong as the UPND leadership was consulting with its legal team on the next step to be taken.

Mr Katuka said in view of the foregoing the party had decided take necessary measures to see to it that justice prevailed.

“We believe that justice should not only be done but it must be seen to be done.

He said that one single judge, in the name of Judge Anne Mwewa Sitali , initially gave direction that the hearing of the main presidential petition was supposed to have commenced on Friday 2nd September 2016 and run up to 8th September,  2016.

Mr Katuka said surprisingly, Judge Sitali rescinded her decision on Thursday 1st September 2016 upon hearing an oral submission by the respondents on the computation of time (14 days).

“The judge’s decision created confusion in that she contradicted her earlier direction to have the main petition heard starting on Friday 2nd September 2016.

“Note also that a single judge threw out six of the applications we filed for further witnesses, and to make amendments to the main petition,” he said.

Mr Katuka said the UPND also lodged an application to have President Edgar Lungu step aside and allow the Speaker of the National Assembly act as republican president in accordance with Article 104(3) of the amended Constitution, but the court refused to hear the application.

Mr Katuka said the UPND lawyers advanced motions to have the 14 days dispute resolved until Friday evening when they withdrew their advocacy.

“To this effect, the 1st and the 2nd petitioners on Friday sought leave arising from Judge Sitali’s misguided position. The president of the Constitutional Court granted the 1st and 2nd petitioners who are President Hakainde Hichilema and his running mate Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM), leave to prepare legal representation and adjourned to Monday 5th August 2016,” he said.