EXPEDITIOUS resolution of electoral disputes is essential to the maintenance of confidence in the electoral dispute resolution mechanism because the integrity of the judicial system impacts positively on the electoral system, Deputy Chief Justice Marvin Mwanamwambwa has said.
Speaking when he officially opened a worship for High Court Judges whose theme was “electoral justice and the 2016 parliamentary election petitions: lessons learnt and the way forward for Zambia” at the Twangale Park lodge yesterday, Justice Mwanamwambwa commended Judges for expediting the election petition hearings for the 2016 elections.
He noted that the 2016 elections came with huge challenges as there were changes to the electoral legal regime due to the extensive amendments to the Constitution which saw repealing and replacement of the Electoral Act of 2006 but thanked the Judges for hearing and determining all cases within 90 days.
“Allow me to state that even before a detailed review of the 2016 election petitions, I can confidently dare commend you, honourable Judges of the High Court, for having heard and determined the parliamentary election petitions within 90 days provided for by Article 73 of the Constitution and I urge you to continue handling cases impartially.
“As you are aware, the year 2016 saw extensive amendments to the Constitution of Zambia. In the same year and just before the tripartite elections were held, the Electoral Act of 2006 was repealed and replaced with the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016. It is clear that one of the consequences of the electoral law was that some case law decided under provisions of the repealed Act, is no longer applicable,” Justice Mwanamwambwa said.
He noted that electoral justice played a critical role in the democracy of the country and that there was need for Judges to maintain the confidence in election dispute resolution.
“It is important to underline the fact that electoral justice plays a critical role in the sustenance of our democracy and peace as a country. It is beyond question that the integrity of the electoral system impacts positively on the integrity of the electoral system.
“Expeditious resolution of electoral disputes is also essential to the maintenance of confidence in the electoral disputes resolution mechanism,” he said.