The Lusaka High Court has however quashed the State’s application for leave to appeal against the suspension of the Kabushi and Kwacha parliamentary by-elections. The Court has further denied an application by the state to stay the suspension of the by-elections.
On Tuesday this week, the Lusaka High Court suspended the Kwacha and Kabushi Parliamentary by-elections following the application by two former parliamentarians Joseph Malanji and Bowman Lusambo.
Mr. Malanji and Mr. Lusambo of the Patriotic Front (PF) contended that unless the by-elections were suspended, they would suffer prejudice.
However, the State has been granted leave to refer to the Constitutional Court some questions in the matter where Patriotic Front (PF) Kwacha Member of parliament Joseph Malanji and his Kabushi counterpart Bowman Lusambo have petitioned the rejection of their nomination papers.
The High Court is therefore today expected to hear Mr. Lusambo’s and Mr. Malanji’s petition and deliver the ruling on Tuesday next week.
On the other hand, in the application to raise constitutional issues on the petition, the state has contended that the High Court has no jurisdiction to determine Constitutional matters.
Earlier, Mr Malanji through his lawyers Makebi Zulu and Tutwa Ngulube submitted that the by-elections should be suspended to ensure justice in the matter.
“The petitioners will aver that the constitution clearly states that challenging the nomination is within seven days of the close of the nomination and that the court shall hear the case within 21 days of its lodgment and the process shall be completed at least 30 days before a general election,” he stated.
He insisted that they are eligible to contest the by-elections following the Constitutional Court judgement which clearly stated that nullification is not disqualification.
“That postponing the by-elections for Kabushi and Kwacha constituencies is necessary to ensure a free and fair election following the said judgement of the court advised on the need to avoid interpreting the constitution in a way that undermines the true purpose of the Constitutional provisions,” he said.
The duo urged the court to dismiss the preliminary issues raised by the State for lack of merit.
Attorney General Mulilo Kabesh had submitted that the High Court has no jurisdiction to determine the petition in the absence of any challenge of the nomination of candidates for the two constituencies in line with Article 52(4) of the constitution (Amendment) Act no.2 of 2016.
Mr Kabesha argued that the court has no jurisdiction to interpret the constitution in relation to Article 128(1)(a) of the constitution (Amendment) Act no.2 of 2016.