Thursday, May 31, 2007

Court adjourns Magande's election petition case

Court adjourns Magande's election petition case
By Noel Sichalwe
Thursday May 31, 2007 [15:21]

I AM ready for the judgment, Chilanga MMD member of parliament Ng'andu Magande has said. In an interview this morning after Lusaka High Court judge Marvin Mwanamwambwa adjourned the Chilanga election petition case, Magande, who is finance minister said he was expecting anything from the courts. "All I can say is that I am ready for the judgment," Magande said. Asked whether he was ready to lose his seat, Magande said he was ready for whatever the judge would decide. Magande said he could only discuss more about the case after the judgment.

And addressing 'sponsored' cadres that gathered at the High Court roundabout in the pre-judgment celebratory euphoria, Magande said the judgment was adjourned and that the MMD would continue to be in existence. He urged the cadres who came from Livingstone, Ndola, Monze and other places to go back and start organising the party so that it could be stronger for them to win the 2011 general elections. "This is what I had to announce from the judge. This is the highest court where we have come and we want to listen to what the judge will say. Those who came yesterday, I think you know where you came from, we will arrange that you get back and those who came this morning will arrange that you get back to your homes," Magande said.

The courtroom where judgment was expected to be delivered was packed with some people even sitting on the bench placed in the accused box. There was tight security at the High Court by armed police officers who were stationed at various entrances. Earlier in court judge Mwanamwambwa adjourned the judgment to July 30.

This is a matter where United Democratic Alliance (UDA) losing candidate Captain Cosmas Moono and Patriotic Front losing candidate Pricilla Kamanga petitioned the election of Magande. The duo has alleged malpractices with about 62 allegations against Magande and Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). They are seeking the nullification of Magande's election. Justifying his decision to adjourn, judge Mwanamwambwa said he had started working on the judgment but that it was not completely ready.

He said he was aware that the parties were anxious to hear the outcome of the petition and that was why he wanted to deal with it properly. Judge Mwanamwambwa said he had decided to suspend criminal sessions in his court for him to deal with the election petition but that the delay in completing it was caused after he ordered a recount. He said after the order for the recount was made, the petitioners applied for the review of his earlier order and that this move took away some valuable time in which to complete the hearing.

Judge Mwanamwambwa said the petition affected the other matters he was handling. He also said the bulky submissions had taken time for him to read. "I can say the case is quite big because there are 62 allegations. It is the biggest here," judge Mwanamwambwa said. "Each of the allegations must be determined on the basis of evidence and the law." He said he would need to analyse the evidence and establish who was telling the truth in the matter.

He said after establishing which party was telling the truth, he would side with them and establish the legal consequence of the decision he would make. Judge Mwanamwambwa said he had been referred to the presidential election petition of late UPND president Anderson Mazoka and others against President Mwanawasa where he had to read over 350 pages of the judgment. He said when writing the judgment, he would need to come up with a number of drafts and later conduct the editing process that consumed time.

Judge Mwanamwambwa said the other interaction was that he would be traveling to conduct High Court sessions in Mongu from tomorrow to June 23. He said he could only conclude writing the judgment by July 30, a date which was agreed by both parties.

He said he would continue working on weekends and nights until the judgment was ready. Judge Mwanamwambwa also showed the people in court three files of the case record which he had to analyse before coming up with a conclusion in the matter. He said he did not want to adjourn the case in chambers so that all interested parties could hear his reasons for the decision to adjourn the delivery of the judgment.

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At 11:58 PM , Blogger Chola Mukanga said...

The nomination system that our nation uses means that Magande is instantly reassured of remaining in his job even if he loses the seat. Probably the President would have to fire someone, unless he has a spare nomination (e.g. Mr Mwanga's) :)


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