Lusaka ~ Tue, 29 Sept 2020
By ZR Reporter
The Lusaka High Court this afternoon dismissed a case in which musician Fumba Chama, popularly known as Pilato, and others were seeking leave to commence judicial review proceedings against the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s (ECZ) decision to require registered voters to re-register again.
Pilato, Maiko Zulu, Brian Bwembya aka BFlow and two youths – Nawa Sitali and Muleta Kapatiso – applied for leave to challenge ECZ’s decision to compel duly registered voters to present themselves for verification under a new register for the 2021 general elections as a condition to participate in the poll.
The applicants, who are represented by State Counsel Musa Mwenye and State Counsel Mutembo Nchito, argued that the decision by ECZ was illegal as it amounts to de-registering voters which is contrary to the law.
The applicants further asked the court to quash the decision by ECZ for being
irrational in the wednesbury sense and procedurally improper.
However, ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano urged the court not to entertain the application by Pilato and others.
He argued that there were two similar cases in court which were seeking similar remedies as the case for Pilato and four others.
In her ruling, judge Gertrude Chawatama said allowing the Pilato and others’ case to proceed might lead to conflicting decisions by judge Mwila Chitabo and herself and would bring the integrity of the court into disrepute.
Judge Chitabo is handling the case where UPND deputy secretary general Getrude Imenda has sued ECZ and the Attorney General, seeking a declaration that the decision by the ECZ to launch and host the online pre-registration of voters on the Commission’s website is illegal.
Judge Chawatama said the decision which would be made before judge Chitabo, although brought by the UPND, would resolve the issues before her in the case of Pilato and Others.
She said she was also alive to the fact that whatever decision she would make might impact on the application for leave for judicial review.
Judge Chawatama refused to grant leave for judicial review and dismissed the application and ordered each party to bear their own costs and granted Pilato and others leave to appeal against her ruling.