UPND presidential petition thrown out

The Constitutional Court has dismissed the petition that was filed by the UPND to challenge the election of Edgar Lungu as republican president and his running mate Inonge WIna.

Delivering the ruling in a packed court room this morning, Judge Anne Sitali said that the14 days constitutional provision to hear the petition expired on Friday 2nd September 2016.

Justice Sitali said the court had no discretion to extend the period in which the case can be heard.

Justice Sitali said lawyers for the petitioners were not ready to prosecute the petition as they continuously made applications before the court.

In a decision of 3 to 2, Judge Palan Mulonda, Judge Mungeni Mulenga and Judge Anne Sitali split the decision with Judge Hildah Chibomba and Judge Prof Margaret Munalula.  Judge Enoch Mulembe recused himself.

Justice Sitali read the majority ruling on behalf of two other constitutional judges Palan Mulonda and Mungeni Mulenga.

And Judge Sitali has called on the law Association of Zambia to met out disciplinary action on UPND Lawyer Martha Mushipe for her improper behaviour in court on Friday.

Meanwhile Constitutional Court President Hilda Chibomba who presented a dissenting view said that she still stood by the ruling she delivered on Friday night.

Justice Chibomba said the 14 days to hear a presidential petition is not workable and practical adding that there is need to revise the provision.

And UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema refused to speak to the media outside the court but his Vice President Geoffrey Mwamba said the battle was not over.

Meanwhile the swearing in ceremony for President Elect, Edgar Lungu will take place next week on Tuesday, September 13.

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The Patriotic Front PF Party in Eastern Province has welcomed the Constitutional Court’s decision to dismiss the presidential petition.

Provincial Chairperson, Andrew Lubusha told Breeze News that President Edgar Lungu deserved the court ruling because he had clearly won the elections.

Mr. Lubusha says that it was worrying when the PF heard that the constitutional court had ruled that the matter should be heard beyond the 14 days period indicated in the constitution.

He says the election was declared free and fair adding that UPND should have accepted defeat without dragging the matter to court.

And Mr. Lubusha has advised PF members in Eastern Province to celebrate the victory responsibility stating that there is no need to intimidate or fight UPND.

Meanwhile UPND Provincial Chairperson, Paul Thole told Breeze News that he had no comment on the Constitutional Court’s decision to dismiss the petition.

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