The Constitutional Court has adjourned the case in which four political parties are seeking an interpretation of President Edgar Lungu’s eligibility to stand in the 2021 Presidential Elections.
Justice Anne Sitali said the Constitutional Court could not hear the matter today because it had received copies of complaint to the Judicial Complaints Commission against Concourt President Judge Hilda Chibomba.
Justice Sitali who sat with Concourt Judges Hilda Chibomba, Margaret Munalula, Mugeni Mulenga and Enock Mulembi said the matter had been adjourned until further notice.
She stated that last week on 26th January 2018, the Constitutional Court had received a notice of motion that President Lungu’s eligibility case be heard by a full bench of seven judges.
Before the Concourt today was full representation of all the parties involved in the presidential eligibility case.
Attorney General Likando Kalaluka was in attendance along Solicitor General Abraham Mwansa and Jonas Zimba, Counsel for the PF who are the second respondent.
Also present was State Counsel John Sangwa representing the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) as first Interested Party while Keith Mweemba represented the United Party for National Development (UPND).
Representing himself as the third interested party was Heritage Party leader Godfrey Miyanda.
In its sitting on January 24 this year, Concourt President Judge Hilda Chibomba warned parties involved in the presidential eligibility case to desist from further delaying the matter as the judges were ready to hear the main case.
Four opposition political parties have petitioned the Constitutional Court to determine the interpretation of who is eligible to stand in the 2021 general elections.
The four are Dan Pule of the Christian Democratic Party, Wright Musona of the Zambia Republican Party, Peter Chanda of New Congress Party and Robert Mwanza of the Citizen Democratic Party.
The four are seeking a declaration that President Edgar Lungu is eligible to contest the 20121 Presidential Elections.
They argue that President Lungu who was first elected in January 2015 after the death of President Michael Sata has not served a full term of office as he was in office for just one year 6 months.
They also argue that President Lungu’s first full term begins after he was sworn in on September 13 2016 following his victory in the August polls.
Yesterday, Four smaller opposition political parties that are aligned to the ruling PF have dragged Constitutional Court President Hildah Chibomba to the Judicial Complaints Commission alleging gross misconduct and incompetence.
The four parties are Christian Democratic Party led by its President Daniel Pule, Zambia Republican Party led by Wright Musoma, New Congress Party led by Peter Chanda and Citizens Democratic Party whose President is Robert Mwanza.
The four claim that they have information that Justice Chibomba as the leading Judge in the petition shares the same lawyers with the opposition UPND who are the 2nd interested party called Messers Malambo and Company.
They also argue that in a ruling dated October 13th, 2017 of the Judicial Complaints Commission under cause 2016/JCC/84, Justice Chibomba was represented by Messer Malambo and Company, some three months ago.
They say the complaint at the Judicial Complaints Authority was commenced in 2016 against her and other Judges while their petition on the Presidential eligibility was filed in 2017.
The four Political leaders have complained that Justice Chibomba has been sitting on their case since 2017 whilst her case is actively being represented by Messers Malambo and Company.
They have complained that they are faced with a situation where Justice Chibomba and the UPND have one law firm as clients.
They have contended that the situation is undesirable and deliberate.
According to the four opposition leaders, Justice Chibomba, the UPND and Messers Malambo and Company have an inseparable relationship which any person could have changed lawyers or the Judge should not even have made an appearance of their petition.
They argue that the parties could feel intimidated and believe there could be bias and collusion.
This they argue constitutes incompetence and gross misconduct on the part of the honourable judge of the Constitutional Court.
They have contended that this is a violation of the Constitution and the Judicial Code of Conduct.
The four political leaders have urged the Judicial Complaints Authority to investigate Justice Chibomba as no judge of her standing as Constitutional Court President will allow herself to be in a conflict position.
They have also urged the Commission to advise Justice Chibomba on the complaint so that she can recuse herself or they would withdraw their petition before her.
The complaint letter has been copied to Justice Chibomba, the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice, Attorney General and Judges of the Constitutional Court.
In the initial matter four opposition political party leaders have petitioned the Constitutional Court to determine that President Edgar Lungu is eligible to stand as a candidate in the 2021 presidential or other future elections.