FORMER President Edgar Lungu is wondering why he has been sued over his eligibility to contest elections when the Constitutional Court already president over the matter in a majority judgement rendered in 2018.
Mr Lungu, a lawyer, contends that the petitioner, Michelo Chizombe, who wants to court to interpret his eligibility to contest the 2021 elections, had an opportunity to raise the issues when the matter was before the court under three different petitions, but neglected to do so.
In the petition, Mr Chizombe, who is also a National Council of Student Unions leader, has petitioned the Constitutional Court to declare Mr Lungu, ineligible to contest future elections.
He wants the court to revisit its ruling by declaration that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) contravened the Republican constitution when it accepted Mr Lungu’s nomination papers and include him on the ballot.
The petitioner further seeks a declaration that Mr Lungu is ineligible to contest a presidential election under the current Constitution as read with the now repealed 1991 Constitution (as amended).
He has cited Mr Lungu, ECZ and the Attorney General as first, second and third respondents in the matter.
But in reply, Mr Lungu argues that the Constitutional Court already pronounced itself over the matter and Mr Chizombe is not entitled to the reliefs he is seeking in the matter.
The former Minister of Justice, Minister of Defence and Minister of Home Affairs, further submits that he will state at trial that he only served one term as head of State, contrary to what Mr Chizombe, alleges in the petition.
“The first respondent [Mr Lungu] will aver at trial that this court has already pronounced itself on the issues being raised by the petitioner. Further, the first respondent will aver at trial that he has not served two terms as alleged by the petitioner,” Mr Lungu’s answer to the petition reads in part.
In his answer to the petition, Mr Lungu submits that the dissenting Constitutional Court Judgement which ruled that he was not eligible to contest the 2021 elections was a minority opinion to set a precedent.
“The dissenting judgement does not represent the majority opinion which set out legal precedent and likely to be followed in future cases. The reasoning of the majority aligns with established legal principles and precedents. Therefore, relying on a dissenting judgement indicates that the petitioner has no case,” he submits.
Mr Lungu will state at trial that the Constitutional Court has already pronounced itself on the issues being raised by the petitioner.
“The petitioner had an opportunity to raise the issues when the matter was before the court under three different petitions, but neglected to do so,” the document reads.
Mr Lungu will also state that the Constitutional Court should embrace the principle of finality in legal decisions.
(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 21st November, 2023)
President Hichilema to continue living at Community House, as Concourt dismisses petition against his stay at the private house
THE Constitutional Court has dismissed for lack of a merit Patriots for Economic Progress president Sean Tembo’s petition challenging President Hakainde Hichilema’s continued stay at his private house instead of shifting to State House.
This means that the President will continue staying at his private Community House in New Ksama.
Passing judgment, Constitutional Court deputy judge president Arnold Shilimi said the court found Mr Tembo’s petition to have lacked merit because the constitution does not compel the President to move to Nkwazi House.
Further, the judge said the court found that Mr Tembo’s plea for the court to declare an order compelling the President to shift to State House is not tenable considering that no law that obliges the Head of State to reside at State House.
“We find that in the absence of any Constitutional provision or any other law that compels the President to reside at State House,and in light of the Respondent’s[Attorney General] submission on the dilapidated state of Nkwazi House requiring high cost of renovations.
“The alleged constitutional breaches relating to the President’s alleged refusal to shift to State House lacks merit and is misconceived,” Judge Shilima said on behalf of other judges who heard the case.
“We find that the alleged breach relating to the right to life is improperly before this court for want of jurisdiction over part iii of the constitution,” he added.
The court consequently dismissed the petition for lack of merit.
In this matter, Mr Tembo petitioned the Constitutional Court over President Hichilema’s refusal to relocate to State House since he was elected in August, 2021.
The politician had submitted that the President was spending huge sums of money through his trips from Community House to State House on a daily basis and putting at risk the safety of many Zambians on the route he is using to access his house.
He further argued that the huge sums of money which was being used on a daily basis, about K126 million per year, could be channeled to other areas of need such as procurement of drugs in hospitals and books for readers in schools.
However, in reply, the State, through Attorney General Mulilo Kabesha, argued that the petition lacked merit because Mr Tembo did not cite the particular article or law which mandates the president actually reside at State House.
He also argued that accommodation of the past Presidents at State House was only a matter of practice or custom and not law.
(Mwebantu, Saturday, 9th December, 2023)
Masturbation comment invites Sean Tembo to court
PATRIOTS for Economic Progress president Sean Tembo has pleaded not guilty to using insulting language when he compared the intervention to sale cheaper ZNS mealie meal in the wake of escalating prices of the commodity prices to masturbation.
The outspoken businessman has been charged with use of insulting language which he allegedly uttered on October 17 this year, the eve of National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation.
Allegations are that on the material day, the accused said “Bally is selling a few bags of ZNS mealie meal using Shoprite, hoping to create a perception of low price is equal to masturbation”.
The sentiments are alleged to likely provoke Abel Mashowo, who reported the case, to break the law or commit any offence against Tembo.
When the case was called today, a magistrate readout the charged and asked the accused whether he understood it.
In response, Mr Tembo responded in the affirmative and pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The court adjourned the case was adjourned to next month for commencement of trial.
(Mwebantu, Friday, 8th December, 2023)
DPP wants more punishment for CK
THE State, through the Director of Public Prosecutions, Gilbert Phiri, has filed a notice to appeal against the five months sentence imposed of Chishimba Kambwili after he was found guilty of promoting hate speech by uttering tribal remarks.
On Thursday, Mr Kambwili, a Patriotic Front member of the central committee, was sentenced to five months imprisonment with hard labour.
This was after the Kasama Magistrate’s Court found him guilty of the offence of expressing or showing hatred, ridicule, or contempt for persons because of tribe or place of origin.
After being hailed, the politician appealed against the verdict and was later released on bail pending hearing of his appeal against the sentence.
But the DPP has filed a cross appeal seeking to challenge the five months jail term imposed on the outspoken former Roan MP.
Mr Phiri feels the sentence was too lenient and that when his application is being heard, he wants to be present in court..
“I, the above named appellant(DPP) , hereby give notice that I desire to appeal to the High Court against the sentence of the accused person.
I desire to be present when the court considers the appeal,” the notice of appeal, which has been circulated online, reads in part.
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 7th December, 2023)