The Supreme Court has ruled that opposition MPs whose elections were nullified can recontest their seats.
Acting chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda was forced to rescue herself as she is regarded as biased towards the PF.
This is in a case where the Patriotic Front had applied to prevent some opposition MP whose elections were nullified on account of alleged electoral malpractices.
But the Supreme Court said that there had been impropriety to the procedure because the High Court was supposed to render reports to the Director of Public Prosecution if ever it found any thing criminal in the conduct of former MPs.
The court said since the High Court did not render such reports, the eight former members of parliament are free to re-contest their seats. The court says it was not the highest court’s duty to direct the lower court to render reports.
The sitting Patriotic Front (PF) government had been pressing against allowing these MPs to re-contest, after they had been removed in a politically controversial process.
This landmark decision is attributed to the fact that the Acting Chief Justice Madam Chibesakunda, who has a record of decisions favourable to the sitting government, was asked to recuse herself from participating in the proceedings of election petitions. Justice Chibesakunda initially resisted the recusal for a while until the lawyers threatened to withdraw from representing their clients. Once Chibesakunda stepped down from the case, the number of the Supreme Court bench was subsequently reduced from 7 to 9, and the decisions on each MP were unanimous by the Supreme Court.
The eight former members of parliament that are now free to re-contest their seats are Lucky Mulusa (MMD – Solwezi Central), Dora Siliya (MMD – Petauke Central), Sydney Chisanga (MMD – Mkushi South), Victoria Kalima (MMD – Kasenengwa), Dr Eustarckio Kazonga (MMD – Vubwi), Hastings Sililo (UPND – Mulobezi), Charles Kakoma (UPND – Zambezi East) and Maxwell Mwale (UPND – Malambo).
Justices Marvin Mwanamwambwa, Muyinda Wanki, Hildah Chibomba, Evans Hamaundu, Gregory Phiri, Elizabeth Muyovwe and Florence Lengalenga comprised the Supreme Court.