High Court to decide judicial review proceedings on Dora, Mwale and Sililo

Dora Siliya_Lusakavoice.com

THE Lusaka High Court has set August 23 as the day it will decide whether the Patriotic Front (PF) can join in the proceedings of judicial review involving three disqualified candidates seeking to recontest some seats.
The candidates are Malambo former lawmaker Maxwell Mwale, Mulobezi’s Hastings Sililo and Petauke’s Dora Siliya (right), whose polls were nullified on evidence of corruption.
The court battle has since sucked in Attorney-General Mumba Malila, who now wants the High Court to dismiss Sililo, Mwale and Siliya’s case with costs as it appears to be based on conjecture, according to court records.
Lusaka High Court Judge Mugeni Mulenga did not rule on whether the filing of nominations halted last week would resume any time soon.
The trio, whose elections were nullified due to evidence of corruption and other electoral irregularities, were allowed to stop the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) from proceeding with nominations.
The ECZ disqualified Ms Siliya (Petauke Central), Mr Mwale (Malambo) and Mr Sililo (Mulobezi) from re-contesting their seats when the Supreme Court nullified their election.
The PF, through its secretary-general Wynter Kabimba on Thursday asked the Lusaka High Court to allow the party to join in the matter as it is an interested party but Judge Mulenga has deferred the matter to August 23.
Mr Kabimba said the PF, through its losing candidates, had petitioned several parliamentary seats, including Malambo, Petauke Central and Mulobezi constituencies and that as a result of the nullification of the seats by the Supreme Court, the party intends to contest the seats.
But lawyers representing the three aspiring opposition candidates have asked the court not to allow the PF to join the judicial review proceedings.
One of the lawyers, Paul Katupisha argued that the ruling party has not provided sufficient grounds as to why it should join the proceedings.
He said the PF has also used a wrong provision to make the application for a joinder.
Mr Katupisha said the party has also not shown sufficient grounds on how it would be harmed if it is not party to the proceedings.
Meanwhile, Mr Mumba Malila has questioned Judge Mulenga’s decision to hear Mwale, Sililo and Siliya’s case when none of them were mentioned directly in the Judiciary statement that advised against fielding ‘corrupt’ candidates.
Malila described the court’s decision to hear the trio’s case as a “misconceived” and “abuse of court process” since they are based on the perceived lack of compliance with the provisions of section 22and 104 of the Electoral Act.
“The court is being asked to act on speculation and conjecture,” Mr Malila argued in court papers.
“We submit that this court has no jurisdiction to entertain an application to direct action against makers of general statements which do not specify the applicants and pray that the applicant’s application be dismissed with costs.”