Monday, July 08, 2013

Nevers questions ruling on Dora
By Allan Mulenga
Mon 01 July 2013, 14:00 CAT

MMD president Nevers Mumba yesterday questioned the Supreme Court ruling on Dora Siliya. But Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba said it was unfortunate that Mumba, as a leader, could issue such contemptuous statements against the Supreme Court.

In a statement yesterday, over the Supreme Court's decision to overturn suspended High Court judge Charles Kajimanga's declaration that Siliya was duly elected member of parliament for Petauke Central, Mumba said the MMD had doubted the legitimacy and fairness of all Supreme Court rulings on parliamentary election petitions.

"The Zambian people are aware that the scheme to deplete the opposition numbers in Parliament was hatched by the PF in October 2011 after they won the election. The scheme was to increase the tally of their numbers to 106 required to have an absolute majority in Parliament," he said.

"This status is meant to give the ruling party unrestrained power to manipulate the Constitution and arrive at their ultimate goal of creating a one party state."

But Kabimba said the PF had lost more petitions than the party had won.

"And it is good for our democracy. Our Judiciary is saying they will not tolerate an electoral system tainted with corruption and bribery," said Kabimba.

And Mumba said PF's parliamentary election petitions border on excessive abuse of public funds.

"The PF petitioned almost all 55 seats won by the MMD in the 2011 general election in a hope to have them all nullified. This again was meant to work towards the creation of a one party state. Several of these petitions were won at the High Court level, but the State appealed to the Supreme Court against the High Court rulings. MMD may have a reason to believe that the PF agenda of depleting the opposition numbers of Parliament is now being aided by the Supreme Court bench," he said.

But Kabimba said PF petitioned because the party knew that MMD had used corruption and bribery to win those seats.

Mumba said the credibility of the Supreme Court bench had come under scrutiny, adding that Zambians would lose faith and confidence in the Supreme Court.

"As for honourable Dora Siliya's seat, we notice there was no mention of either corruption or rigging, and that is why it was thrown out by the High Court. But today, the Supreme Court is determined to continue with the agenda of nullifications. There is no institution or wing of government which should be exempted from scrutiny. In this case, the credibility of the Supreme Court bench has come under scrutiny. Zambians may soon lose faith and confidence in the Supreme Court," he said.

"The MMD demands that the President should begin to respect the Constitution and the decision of Parliament by immediately removing and replacing the Chief Justice. Failure to this, the opposition will be forced to deal with this illegality at the Supreme Court by disregarding the Supreme Court rulings. An illegality is an illegality whether it is perpetrated by the President or an ordinary citizen," said Mumba.

But Kabimba said it was unfortunate that Mumba could ridicule and belittle the Supreme Court.

Kabimba said the nullifications simply meant that MMD did not run a clean campaign but one based on corruption and bribery.

He said the PF had also lost petitions but had not complained, and wondered why the MMD was complaining.

Kabimba encouraged all losing PF candidates to petition because the PF suspected that the MMD used corrupt activities to win the elections.

"The statement itself is contemptuous of the Supreme court. If you remember, the decision by Dora Siliya in the High Court was in her favour. But we didn't complain ourselves as Patriotic Front. Neither did the petitioner go public to denounce the decision or the judgment of the High Court. But it is unfortunate that when you have a situation where the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the High Court, Nevers Mumba… and he is not the first one, the first one was Muhabi Lungu, can stand on a public platform and start condemning the Supreme Court in public. And condemning it by way of belittling it, and demeaning its status in our society."

Kabimba said the Judiciary was sending a message to all parties that they must allow the electorate to make a choice and not unduly influence them through bribery.

"This practice has to be brought to an end. Our candidates are being vindicated. MMD thought that they would get way with it. There is no need for the likes of Nevers Mumba to start pouring contemptuous comments on the Judiciary," he said.

Kabimba said Mumba was projecting an image of a bad loser.
"The Zambian people should condemn leaders like Nevers," said Kabimba.

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