Petition main hearing set for Sept 2

UPND Nakonde rally
UPND Nakonde rally

The Constitutional Court has set Friday,2nd September as the date for commencement of the main hearing of the petition filed in by the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) challenging the re-election of President Edgar Lungu.

And the court will this afternoon hear an application by the petitioners in which they are seeking to have President Lungu relinquish executive functions to the Speaker of the national assembly.

preliminary issues relating to the petition are expected to be concluded by Thursday before the Constitutional Court can start hearing the petition.

The constitutional court is also expected to give guidance on whether the fourteen days period stipulated in the constitution for hearing a petition started counting on the actual day the UPND filed the petition or the days will start counting from the day the main petition hearing will commence.

Lawyers representing President Lungu have however, argued that the 14 days in which the Petition should be heard will expire on Friday this week.

The lawyers are relying on Article 103 (2) which states that “the Constitutional Court shall hear an election petition relating to the President -Elect within fourteen (14) days of the filing of the Petition”.

The lawyers are also relying on the Constitutional interpretation as provided for in Article 269 (d) which states that weekends are counted if the days of the matter exceed six days.

But UPND lawyers, on the other hand believe the 14 days will end next Thursday on 8th September, 2016 if weekends are excluded.

The UPND contends that the Court should consider 14 working days and not weekends.

And the court has reserved the ruling to Thursday 1st September, 2016 on the application by the UPND to amend the petition.

The court has since adjourned to 15 hours this afternoon.