The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has charged that the constitutional court is setting a dangerous precedent on the law regarding electoral petitions.
The organization argues that the decision by the Constitutional Court to extend the time limit allowed by the Constitution for trying a presidential petition has set a most dangerous precedent with regards to both the rule of law, and to the law with specific reference to hearing and determination of election petitions for Members of Parliament and other elective offices.
YALI Governance Advisor Isaac Mwanza in a statement says
yesterday the President of the Constitutional Court, Justice Hildah Chibomba, delivered the substantive ruling of the court: the 14 days stipulated in the Constitution itself, for the hearing of a presidential election petition, would expire at 23:59 on 2ndSeptember 2016 adding that the court therefore gave the two sides, up to 23:45 to conclude their submissions.
He says the Constitutional Court would proceed in blatant violation of not only the court’s own ruling, its governing statute and rules and in utter disregard of the Constitution itself.
The YALI Governance Advisor has expressed concern that while the Constitutional Court failed to take charge of the proceedings from the start, the precedent set by the Court will have serious implications in the manner the High Court and Tribunals will have to deal with similar situations that may arise before them during trial of parliamentary and local government elections petitions.
Mr. Mwanza says the constitutional court must defend and protect the republican constitution.