Patriotic Front lawyers representing Bowman Lusambo and Joseph Malanji have been commenting on the Lusaka High Court’s decision that the by elections in Kabushi and Kwacha should not go ahead as scheduled on 15th September 2022 until the main matter under court is determined.
The Court on Tuesday granted Mr. Lusambo and Mr.Malanji a stay for the by elections not to proceed.
ECZ barred the two from re-contesting their old seats on account that they were not eligible, a decision they have challenged in the courts.
The former Kabushi and Kwacha lawmakers have told court that they would suffer prejudice if the by elections went ahead in the two constituencies.
Lawyer Makebi Zulu said after the Tuesday ruling that the solicitor general raised an issue which will be determined on Thursday.
Mr. Zulu expressed confidence that the legal matter and all issues raised by the two arguing parties could be concluded by next week.
“There will not be any elections in Kabushi and Kwacha until the matter is determined. It was imperative on ECZ upon the filing of our application that they stayed or suspended the elections pending the determination of this matter but instead they did not. This proves to us that they are not as independent as they ought to. In this particular case the court has seen it fit that the matter be stayed until they determine this matter which halfway has been done, in that the Constitutional Court has said the nullification is not a disqualification,” Mr. Zulu told reporters outside court.
“We have agreed to proceed with the matter and they have raised an issue which will be determined on Thursday. Then Friday we are coming to have the main matter heard. In which case we expect that by next week there should be a final judgment but for now there are no elections in Kabushi. No elections in Kwacha until the court determines. That is the rule of law and that is the justice that we came here to seek,” he said.
Meanwhile, lawyer Tutwa Ngulube explained the court’s decision made on Tuesday afternoon.
“There are a lot of questions as to what has happened today. Why are you coming back on Thursday? I think you heard. In brief, history is that we went to the Concourt, asking Concourt to stop ECZ from blocking Honourable Malanji and Honourable Lusambo. We presented four questions; the Constitutional Court said they will not get into those other issues, they will just interpret the constitution and they interpreted the constitution to mean Honourable Malanji and Honourable Bowman qualify to stand as Members of parliament in Kwacha and Kabushi. We expected that the ECZ on its own would have cancelled the elections and called for fresh nominations so that honourable Malanji and Honourable Bowman appear on the ballot paper,” Mr. Ngulube said.
“When they (ECZ) didn’t do that we came to the High Court, to ask the court to stop the election and allow us to argue the main matter. Today as we are speaking the high court has stopped the election in Kwacha and Kabushi. The Court has also said they will hear the main petition on Friday. Now, just when we were about to come to court, the solicitor general produced some documents saying that they have made an application for constitutional reference. They want the matter to go back to the Constitutional Court. So, anyway the court has said we will not throw it out, we will hear you on Thursday. What we know is that the Concort has already said the power to deal with members of Parliament and their nominations is with the High Court,” he said.
Mr. Ngulube concluded:”They can only deal with the Presidential candidates so now telling us that they want to go back to the Constitutional Court we won’t comment but we will allow you to judge for yourself, who is wasting whose time. So we will come back on Thursday to hear whether the court should refer back the matter to the Constitutional Court or not and then on Friday we will come back to come and argue the main matter whether the ECZ was wrong in refusing to stop the elections or not.”