By Peter Sinkamba President The Greens
I hope there are lessons that have been learnt from the eligibility and Running Mate cases that were determined by the Consitutional Court on thid much anticipated D-Day, today. It is important to draw lessons from the cases as the Nation matches towards 12 August elections, which potentially will be the axis of election petitions this century in Zambia.
In my view, three cardinal lessons have or ought to have been learnt. The first lesson is or ought be that in interpreting statutes, the judges’ freedom is restricted by the rules of precedent. The second lesson is or ought be that their freedom is restricted by the supremacy of Parliament. The third lesson is or ought be that their freedom is restricted to the rules of statutory interpretation.
The two cases have truly demonstrated that courts cannot unsurp the role of the legislature and make decisions or create laws. It has been demonstrated without any iota of doubt that judges confine themselves to their territories, and to guidelines given to them by the legislature, until the legislature steps in again to amend or indeed make another law.
It has been demonstrated that judges cannot venture into ‘judicial adventurism’ in pursuit of their own notions of justice, or indeed yield to public pressure, ignoring the limits of the law.
Therefore, as we match towards 12 August, lawyers need to take time to read carefully the full judgments, so that they do not mislead their clients that may hire them if need be for petitions coming before the Concourt.
Finally, it important to mention that the dissenting judgment by Justice Professor Munalula is proof that the Concourt is truly independent in its pursuit to give effect to constitutional policy.
Let’s all applaud, support and have confidence in this critical apex court.