United Party for National Development (UPND) Charles Mulenga commends the Constitutional Court for upholding the judgement of the High Court in his petition against Former Foreign Affairs Minister and Kwacha Member of Parliament Joseph Malanji for the nullification of the Kwacha seat on grounds of not possessing a Grade 12 Certificate.
Speaking after the verdict, Mr Mulenga stated that he is delighted for being vindicated because when he expressed his concern 12 months ago that his victory was stolen as he did not agree with the results nor believed that he had actually lost the Kwacha seat to Mr Malanji thus his petitioning of the matter in the High Court.
Mr Mulenga added that he presented 13 grounds of evidence to support my petition and the presiding Judge Kazimbe Chenda agreed with him on two principal grounds the first being electoral misconduct where bribery and corruption was wide spread and the second being the issue to do with eligibility where it was proved that Mr Malanji did not possess a Grade 12 Certificate.
“It’s on those principal grounds that the High Court went on to declare the results of Mr Malanji as now and void,” he said
He noted that Mr Malanji was not pleased with the decision of the High Court thus making an appeal to the Constitutional Court, which today has agreed with the High Court for his Kwacha Constituency seat to be nullified.
“Since his seat has now been nullified and it now remains with the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to take it up and give us a direction on how we are going to proceed from now on,” Mr Mulenga stated
Mr Mulenga said that the one thing that the Court is telling everyone and the lesson that the Court is sending across is that every person that transpires for public office must conduct themselves in an exemplary manner that is conducive as opposed to under hand methods of getting into these offices using bribery means, corruption and violence which is not required.
Mr Mulenga has since declared interest in recontesting the Kwacha Constituency seat under the UPND Party as he has also declared a win in the forthcoming By-Elections.
Meanwhile, the facts of matter in which Mr Mulenga petitioned the Kwacha seat are that Mr Mulenga sued Mr Malanji and the Electoral Commission of Zambia – ECZ as first and second respondents respectively in the High Court, where he argued that Mr Malanji did not qualify to have participated in the August 12, 2021 General Elections as he did not possess a Grade 12 Certificate or equivalent.
But despite the High Court decision to nullify the Kwacha Seat, Mr Malanji appealed to the Constitutional Court where the Court upheld the nullification of the election of Mr Malanji in Kwacha Constituency despite having a G12 certificate, the court ruled that Mr Malanji should have submitted it to the court for verification.
The Constitutional Court affirmed the decision of the High Court Judge Kazimbe Chenda to declare Joseph Malanji’s election as Kwacha Constituency Patriotic Front (PF) Member of Parliament void for not possessing a Grade 12 Certificate during his re-election.
Constitutional Court Vice-President Margaret Munalula on behalf of the majority ruled that Judge Chenda cannot be censured for determining Malanji’s eligibility to contest in the August 12, 2021 General Elections as he did not possess the requisite academic qualification when filing in nomination papers in line with Article 70(1)(d) of the Constitution.
She said Malanji had a chance to prove that he had the school certificate (Form 5) at the time of his re-election but did not do so, neither is there evidence on the record of appeal.
Constitutional Court Judge Margaret Munalula, who read the majority judgement, said High Court trial Judge Kazimbe Chenda’s decision to annul the seat on the basis of lack of a grade 12 certificate cannot be faulted because of sufficient evidence.
Judge Munalula noted that the Constitutional Court is of the view that there was enough evidence that Mr. Malanji did not have a Grade 12 Certificate.
Judge Munalula stated that the trial was on firm ground to shift the burden of proof to show that he had the right credentials.
Judge Mungeni Mulenga has however opposed the decision of the majority stating that the trial Judge erred in Law to shift the burden of proof to Mr. Malanji, and as the petitioner, UPND Candidate Charles Mulenga should have provided proof that the appellant did not have a Grade 12 certificate.
The nullification of Joseph Malanji Kwacha Seat for not having a Grade 12 Certificate comes barely a week after Patriotic Front (PF) Kabushi Law maker, Bowman Lusambo seat was nullified by the Constituency Court on grounds of malpractice, violence and distribution of money which was in breach of the electoral rules.