MWANAKATWE JUDGMENT DAY SET

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By NATION REPORTER

THE Constitutional Court will on Wednesday, October 31 deliver judgement in a matter in which Lusaka Central Member of Parliament Margaret Mwanakatwe wants the court to overturn the nullification of her seat by the High Court.

It has been over three years since the case was brought to court to determine whether Ms Mwanakatwe was legitimately elected as MP.

In November 2016 then High Court judge Mwiinde Siavwapa invalidated Ms Mwanakatwe’s election as Member of Parliament on grounds of electoral malpractice which included corruption, bribery and racism.

The appellant was also found guilty of abusing the authority of her office as she did not relinquish her position as minister of Commerce after the dissolution of Parliament, as such she continued presenting herself as a minister during the campaigns which gained her favour.

The results were petitioned by UPND losing candidate Charlotte Scott but the lawmaker challenged the nullification of her election results in the Constitutional Court.

She cited Ms Scott and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) as the first and second respondents respectively.

Ms Mwanakatwe argued that Dr Scott failed to demonstrate how widespread the alleged corrupt practices complained of where.

She complained that it was unfair for the judge to choose to believe other versions of evidence without giving reason why he rejected hers.

Meanwhile, Dr Scott argued that the trial judge was on firm ground when he nullified Ms Mwanakatwe’s seat.

She argued that Ms Mwanakatwe was found wanting in respect of discriminatory and corrupt practices.

Dr Scott asked the court to dismiss the appeal with costs as it lacked merit.

Justice Annie Sitali will deliver the much anticipated judgement next week.

Meanwhile, Judicial review proceedings challenging the Speaker of the National Assembly’s decision to table in Parliament the impeachment of President Edgar Lungu will be heard on November 23.

This is in a matter where two private citizens, Robert Chabinga and Henry Mulenga sued the State through Attorney General Likando Kalaluka in the Lusaka High Court.

The matter was initially to be heard on Thursday but the Attorney General was out of jurisdiction.

High Court Judge Banda Bobo however wondered why the Attorney General’s chambers had not filed any other documents apart from the affidavit in opposition for leave.

She said she would proceed to hear the Judicial Review even if the Attorney General has not filed any documents in the next sitting.

The applicants Mr Chabinga and Mr Mulenga feel that the motion should not be before Parliament because some of the issues raised were already before the Constitutional Court and therefore tabling the motion would be prejudicial to the court process.

Mr Chabinga and Mr Mulenga, have asked the High Court to declare the decision by the Speaker of the National Assembly unconstitutional and unlawful as it failed to recognise the active cases before court.

The two petitioners argued that the impeachment motion moved by UPND Mazabuka Central Member of Parliament Garry Nkombo was illegal, unreasonable and procedurally improper

They asked the court to review and quash the decision of the Speaker to allow the National Assembly to table a fraudulent motion that did not meet the criteria of an impeachment motion

Earlier, Mr Kambwili and Mr Nkombo asked to be joined to the case but the court refused to join the two despite being movers of the motion.

It ruled that they did not have sufficient interest to warrant them joinder.

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