UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema and his Deputy Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) yesterday told High Court judge Mwila Chitabo that they do not want the court to review the Constitutional Court’s judgment that dismissed their presidential petition but to determine whether the act violated the opposition leader’s rights.
This is in the case in which the two UPND Leaders are seeking a right to be heard before the court following the dismissal of their presidential petition by the Constitutional Court after the August 11 General elections.
Mr Hichilema and Mr Mwamba through their lawyer have indicated that the Constitutional Court’s decision to dismiss their presidential petition case was final.
On September 5, 2016, the Constitutional Court threw out the petition challenging the re-election of President Edgar Lungu after the 14-days in which the matter was to be heard expired.
They have submitted that the Constitutional Court’s verdict is a non-issue and that they will not ask the court to review the judgement.
Earlier in the case the State filed a notice of motion to raise preliminary issues through the Attorney General Likando Kalaluka.
Mr Kalaluka raised a number of questions among them whether the determination of presidential election petition is a civil right.
He further wanted to know whether the High Court can inquire into a question of fair trial when the presidential election petition case was never heard.
The attorney General also wanted to know whether the High Court can have a different interpretation on the time frame in which a presidential petition can be heard other than the 14 days.
In response, Mr Hichilema and Mr Mwamba have said they do not want Mr Chitabo to review the Constitutional Court’s judgment but determine whether the act violated rights.
“We are not asking the High Court to disturb what they [Constitutional Court judges] did. The Constitutional Court’s decision is final and it’s a non-issue,” they have said.
They add that the issue is whether the Constitutional Court’s dismissal of the presidential petition was in line with the provisions of the Bill of Rights.
They have also questioned the constitutionality of the Constitutional Court’s dismissal of the presidential petition.
The duo have submitted that the High Court has the power to determine whether the Bill or Rights was violated when the Constitutional Court dismissed the presidential petition.
In reply the Solicitor General Abraham Mwansa wondered how the High Court will inquire into the hearing of the dismissed petition when the case was not heard.
Mr Mwansa argued that the determination of any matter by the Constitutional Court cannot be termed as a violation of the right to fair trial.
“The proceedings before you [Justice Chitabo] have nothing to do with violation of the constitution,” he said.
Mr Mwansa said the presidential petition was dismissed because it could not be heard within the prescribed 14days because the petitioners chose to concentrate on interlocutory applications.
“We therefore urge this court to dismiss the petition with costs as the same is misconceived at law,” Mr Mwansa said.
The matter has been adjourned to Monday next week.