Chief Justice Mumba Malila, says the electoral dispute resolution process has resulted in an unprecedented increase in election petitions from the 2021 election as compared to the 2016 elections.
Justice Malila said a total of 348 election petitions were filed before the High Court and the local government tribunals in 2021.
The Chief Justice said he was however proud that despite the overwhelming workload, the High Court and local government election tribunals discharged their adjudicative duties within the statutory set timelines.
“There are only a handful of appeals pending before the constitutional court and I am confident they will be rendered in no time,” he disclosed.
Justice Malila noted that electoral justice is a centre of integrity and transparency of an electoral system, adding that any aggrieved person is free to approach the courts for timely enforcement of their political rights.
He said this in a speech read on his behalf by Acting Deputy Chief Justice, Roydah Kaoma, during the official opening of a two day stakeholders engagement workshop on lessons learnt from the 2021 electoral dispute resolution process held in Lusaka today.
And United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Lionel Laurens, has commended the judiciary for the planned review of the constitutional court rules regarding presidential and parliamentary election petitions.
Mr. Laurens has meanwhile pledged UNDP’s commitment to the electoral dispute resolution partnership.
He said the judiciary should ensure that it is in position to reflect and take stock of existing electoral dispute resolution processes and mechanisms to the betterment of the electoral process.
“I commend the judiciary for the soon to be completed second edition of the election petitions digest as an important knowledge resource on the country’s jurisprudence on election dispute resolution,” he added.
Meanwhile, Judiciary Chief Registrar, Exnobert Zulu, disclosed that in accordance with Article 159 section 2 of the constitution, a total of 272 local government tribunal sittings were administered by 37 tribunals constituted in 2021, as compared to about 9 tribunals in 2016.
Mr. Zulu added that a total of 39 judges sat to hear parliamentary election petitions.