Just like Pontius Pilate, the Constitutional Court of Zambia washes its hands. ‘Sorry, deal with this yourselves. We have no jurisdiction.’ What a travesty! What a denial of justice! Those learned people of the bench are drawing salaries and allowances from the weak Zambian treasury but have not been worth their money at all. Even when they do make a judgement that appears to be against the government, their judgement is hollow and without any teeth to bite because the Executive lords it over the Judiciary here. Ever since its inception the Zambian Con Court has been nothing but a waste of time and money.
This is not an attack on the personalities involved, but on the institution itself. There is something wrong if an appellate court cannot find power to do its work. There is no judgement this court has ever made that has a wow factor in it. It appears to be afraid of some invisible hand and there is self censorship. Could it be that the warning not to do what Kenyan courts did is haunting the robed justices?
Here are their failures.
1. They failed to set in black and white what 14 days means. Courts do not write laws but interpret them. The con court failed to determine whether Saturday and Sunday can be counted into the court’s days.
2. They passed judgement on ministers who stayed on illegally to pay back their emoluments to the Zambian people. It ended there. The ministers haven’t paid and some may even depart from this earth without doing so and we shall offer them state funerals.
3. The court ruled that the AG chambers are government lawyers. But in contempt of the same ruling, the AG continues to represent individuals at tax-payer’s expense.
4. The court had a chance to define what it means for what to ‘have been elected twice.’ They ducked the issue. They went on to give the excuse that Edgar Lungu has not applied to be candidate yet so they cannot decide whether he is eligible or not. This was not about ECL, it was about interpreting the law in connection with who is and who is not eligible to be presidential candidate. Lungu was just an example. The court should have given a verdict by telling us what it means to be elected twice as President. Courts of more erudite judges do that all the time. They define terms and set precedents for future jurists to fall back on.
5. Now we have the court can only ‘SYMPATHISE’ with petitioners on Bill 10! Sympathise? You are the Constitutional Court. YOU AND YOU ALONE can tell the nation what is constitutional and what is not. That is why you are there. Imagine if Zambia was attacked by a foreign country and villagers are killed and all the President, the C-in-C of the defence forces can do is only sympathise with the people! The executive is vested with the security of the people and it must act to defend the national sovereignty.
To this end, I move that the court has failed in its duties and it must be disbanded.
How many more basins of water will this court need to wash their hands in while the people stagger in judicial darkness with no light from the expected source?