ANGER, ANXIETY GRIP NATION
THERE is a growing anger, anxiety and frustration among Zambians over extreme abuse of court process transpiring in the courts of law over the inauguration of President Edgar Lungu next Tuesday.
There is no petition against his declaration as the winner of the Presidential election and yet two separate courts are today hearing petitions to stop his inauguration.
‘‘The Constitution is very clear that the winner of an election must be inaugurated. What are the courts dealing with to consider motions to stop inauguration?’’ two Constitution lawyers have asked.
They revealed that the Presidential petition which lapsed before the Constitutional Court had been “mysteriously” resurrected and was now actively before two separate courts, the High Court and the Constitutional Court, contrary to normal procedure. Judge Mwila Chitabo of the High Court and the Constitutional Court will today decide separately whether the inauguration will proceed or not, following two simultaneous applications made by Hakainde Hichilema and Geoffrey Mwamba.
“This totally unprecedented, unprocedural and unheard of.” Senior lawyers told the Daily Nation
yesterday. “President Lungu won the election and was declared the winner under the constitution, where are the two courts finding power to consider stopping the inauguration when there is no active petition before the constitutional court ?” a lawyer asked. “This is wrong and must be stopped.” He said. It is also not clear why the concourt which lapsed the petition should become involved when there was no petition before it.
Clearly something is rotten, the process is being abused and the judiciary is taking Zambians for granted a senior lawyer said yesterday. Lawyers told the Daily Nation that this was unprecedented, unprocedural and a cause of grave concern. In the High Court, petitioners Hakainde Hichilema and Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba are seeking for an injunction to stop the inauguration of President Lungu and they are also seeking a stay of the decision of the concourt to lapse the Petition.
“There is no way a high court can deal with matters that were dealt with by a superior court,” These actions are untenable at law through the principle stare decisis, which means that a decision of the superior court cannot be subjected to review, stay or appeal by an inferior court.”
HH and GBM have filed as motion in the concourt to determine if the swearing in of President Lungu was in order without their declaration, “What declaration will they make when there was no petition?”
The lawyers noted that President Edgar Lungu and was declared winner by the returning officer and that thus far there has been no declaration whatsoever that his election was invalid
“An attempt to petition the election failed and the court accordingly ruled that that had failed. That rests the matter”
The circumstances under with the Concourt is sitting is causing confusion. In the morning the Judge hearing the matter set the hearing for September 21 but later it was announced that the Court President Hildah Chibomba had set the matter for today at 09.00 hours