By DELPHINE ZULU –
THE Lusaka High Court has refused to grant a stay of judgment to Patriotic Front (PF) Lusaka Central Member of Parliament (MP) Margaret Mwanakatwe.
The Court however, said in its ruling yesterday that the election of Ms Mwanakatwe was not void and was duly elected, meaning she could continue operating as an MP.
High Court judge in charge Mwiinde Siavwapa denied the respondent a stay on grounds that it was misconceived and would not affect her standing in Parliament.
“I have looked at the 10 grounds of appeal and from the view that the prospects of success on appeals are. Further, even if a stay is not granted, the loss that the respondent will suffer is not irreparable by compensation or damages,” he said.
Mr Justice Siavwapa however, granted Ms Mwanakatwe leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court which would determine the matter.
Ms Mwanakatwe whose seat was nullified due to electoral malpractices has raised 10 grounds of appeal in the Constitutional Court.
She also asked the Constitutional Court to order for a stay of the judgment to stop the National Assembly from declaring her seat vacant.
Ms Mwanakatwe cited errors in law and facts when Judge Siavwapa declared her election as MP for Lusaka Central Constituency null and void.
In the first ground, the appellant said the judge erred in law and facts when he held that losing United Party for National Development (UPND) candidate Charlotte Scott was stopped by the police from campaigning, a factor that affected the outcome of the election in the absence of evidence to show that she was indeed stopped.
“Take notice that I being dissatisfied with the decision of Judge Siavwapa delivered on November 23 this year, intend to appeal to the Constitutional Court against part of the judgment and lodged a stay,” she said.
She said the judge erred when he held that the conduct of the police to stop Dr Scott campaign process was illegal and an act that affected the outcome of the elections.
That the judge also erred in law and facts when he held that the violence which was associated to Ms Mwanakatwe negated free and fair elections in the absence of evidence to demonstrate that the violence actually occurred and was wide spread.
Ms Mwanakatwe stated that the judge erred when he nullified the election on the ground that the violence perpetrated against Dr Scott in the City Centre affected the outcome of the elections in the
absence of evidence linking the appellant or her agents to the alleged acts of violence.
He erred when he held that the remarks she made on “Race to Manda Hill” radio programme amounted to racism when the appellant was merely stating where she was born which every candidate on the panel did and that there was no clear evidence to show that the appellant made those remarks in reference to Dr Scott nor was there evidence adduced as to what the ordinary member of society interpreted them as.
Judge Siavwapa is accused to have erred when he held that the appellant involvement in the sinking of boreholes was shown by a letter produced in court when there was clear evidence that she is not the one who sank them.