THE UPND says the petition by Livingstone magistrate Benjamin Mwelwa does not disclose any violation of the constitution by any political party, the Attorney General and the ECZ.

UPND secretary general Steven Katuka has since asked the court to dismiss the petition for want of jurisdiction because it does not disclose any violation of the constitution.

Katuka said the Constitutional Court has no jurisdiction to hear the petition where a magistrate wants the court to direct the Registrar of Societies to deregister all political parties that have not held party elections since 2016.

In this matter, magistrate Mwelwa wants the court to order the Registrar of Societies to deregister any political party which came into existence following the Amendment of the Constitution on January 5, 2016 and has not promoted and practiced democracy through regular, free and fair elections within its political party.
He is also seeking a declaration that any political party which was registered and in existence as of January 5, 2016 and which has not promoted and practiced democracy through regular, free and fair elections, within its political party, has breached article 60(2)(d) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act no. 2 of 2016 and therefore such a political party ceased to exist as a political party in Zambia on January 4, 2017.
In an affidavit in support of application to strike out petition and dismiss the matter, Katuka said magistrate Mwelwa’s petition does not meet the requirements for a matter that should be brought before the Constitutional Court.

“Upon perusal of the petition and affidavit verifying facts and taking advice from my advocates, it has become apparent to me that they do not meet the requirement for actions that ought to be brought before this court,” Katuka said.

“The petition is founded on an act of Parliament and is therefore wrongly before the Constitutional Court for lack of jurisdiction but instead it was supposed to be taken before the High Court.”

Katuka said that neither the petition nor the affidavit verifying facts disclose any alleged violation of the constitution on the part of the Attorney General, the ECZ or any political party as alleged.

He stated that any person who approaches the Constitutional Court to exercise its jurisdiction must indicate the violations of the constitution that are alleged to have been committed and how they were committed or the provisions that require interpretation.

Katuka argued that failure to do so, there is no way the court can be moved to pronounce remedies in favour of such a party.

“A perusal of the petition reveals that that the petitioner alleges that the respondents and all political parties have contravened the constitution by breaching Section 18 of the constitution of Zambia Act no.2 of 2016,” said Katuka.

“Clearly the petitioner requires the honorable court to interpret an Act of Parliament, the interpretation of which falls outside the jurisdiction of this court. The matter which the petitioner seeks interpretation can only be determined by the High Court.”

The Court has set June 15 to hear the said application.

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