Constitution court to conclude at 23:45hrs today, throws out more applications

Hakainde Hichilema, UPND press briefing
Hakainde Hichilema, UPND press briefing

The Constitutional Court is continuing to hear the presidential petition filed by UPND president Hakainde Hichilema in which he is challenging the declaration of president-elect Edgar Lungu as winner of last month’s presidential election.
And the Court this afternoon threw out four applications by the UPND in which the party was, among other things, contending that concluding trial in the main petition by midnight would not be a trial and will violate Article 18 (9) of the Constitution.

The Court also dismissed an application by the UPND in which they wanted the court to compel the Electoral Commission of Zambia and ZNBC to produce documents and news bulletins respectively relating to allegations in the main petition for lack of merit.
The full bench of the Court led by president Hildah Chibomba further dismissed the petitioners’application in which they wanted Judge Annie Sitali to recuse herself from hearing its renewed application before the bench because she earlier heard the matter as a single judge.
In dismissing the application on judge Sitali, the court said she could hear the renewed application because it was not an appeal.
And the Court has adjourned after hearing two extra motions by the petitioners and an application by the Law Association Zambia (LAZ) to join the proceedings as a friend of the Court.

In the first motion the petitioners have applied for leave to make amendments to the petition and file it anew while in the second motion the petitioners want the Court to grant them leave to file additional witness statements.
The respondents’ lawyers have opposed the two motions and the application by LAZ to join the proceedings as a friend of the Court.
The ruling on the three applications is expected to be made when the Court resumes its sittings later this evening.
Earlier in the morning the Court dismissed an application by the petitioners to refer the issue of the 14 days in which the petition should be heard to the High Court for interpretation.

Court president Hildah Chibomba ruled that the Constructional Court was superior to any other court and cannot refer any issue it can deal with to any court below.
She further ruled that the Court has up to 23:45hrs today, September 2, 2016 to hear and conclude the petition.
Meanwhile there is a heavy presence of police around the Court premises as the petition is being heard.