THE full bench of the Supreme Court yesterday heard that presidential hopeful Miles Sampa’s constitutional right to be elected President of Zambia will not be infringed upon if he is not joined to a case in which the High Court declared Minister of Defence Edgar Lungu as duly elected Patriotic Front (PF) leader.
This is in a matter in which Mr Sampa has appealed to the Supreme Court against a High Court decision which dismissed his application and two others to join a matter involving the PF presidency as interveners.
When the matter came up before a full bench of the Supreme Court led by Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda yesterday, ruling was reserved for Monday, December 15 this year.
Mr Justice Chibesakunda said the court would not hear the second appeal in which Mr Sampa is challenging a consent judgment delivered by High Court judge Mungeni Mulenga in which she declared Mr Lungu, who is also Minister of Justice, as duly elected PF president.
Lawyers representing PF national chairperson Inonge Wina said Mr Sampa failed to demonstrate how the High Court ruling directly affected his legal rights.
One of the Lawyers, Tresford Chali, said refusing Mr Sampa to be part of the proceedings does not take away his legal right to be President of Zambia.
“It does not prevent anyone from becoming President. They still have rights and they can go ahead and still be president of the country,” Mr Chali said.
He argued that the High Court was on firm ground to dismiss the application by Mr Sampa, Kasama Central member of Parliament Geoffrey Mwamba and former diplomat Seleman Phangula to join the matter as interveners for being incompetent as it was raised after it was determined.
Mr Chali submitted the intended interveners had knowledge that there was a matter before the courts concerning the PF presidency and that they should have applied to join the matter when it just started.
And another lawyer Sukwana Lukangaba said the interveners had knowledge about the case in court as one of them was seen on television discussing the matter.
He also said the interveners knew about the case because the acting deputy secretary-general of the PF was served with the court order restraining the convention, which elected Mr Sampa as party president.
“The documents having been served, they chose to ignore service and the court order. No rights can arise from the convention as it was an illegality. The appellant has not disclosed sufficient interest to be parties,” Mr Lukangaba said.
He said the appellants should have joined the proceedings before the High Court but that they instead opted to begin fresh proceedings.
And Punabantu Luo said by merely stating that the interveners were affected by the outcome of the consent judgment which declared Mr Lungu as president does not entitle them to join the proceedings.
He said the rights they seek to enforce are illegal, null and void and cannot be re-enforced by the law because the court cannot impose rights that arise from an illegality.
But lawyers representing Mr Sampa, Mr Mwamba and Mr Phangula said the court cannot assume that the intended interveners had knowledge about the court order.
Mr Sakwiba Sikota said the court cannot assume that just because the matter was widely reported in various media does not mean that the interveners were aware.
Another lawyer, Sebastian Zulu said the High Court should have given the trio an opportunity to be heard because they were affected by the outcome of the consent judgement.
And Mr Makebi Zulu said the trio did not have sufficient time to join the proceedings considering the short time that the matter commenced to the time that it was concluded.
Mr Zulu said the case to join the proceedings was not dismissed on the basis of interest but that the matter had already been concluded.
The Supreme Court has reserved ruling to Monday, December 15.
Zambia Daily Mail