Isaac Mwanza writes …
Chipenzi McDonald, in response to an interview I gave on whether the Court can interpret provisions of Article 106 using a nomination petition, has gone at sea trying to convince the public that I said he must go to court to challenge the nomination of President Lungu. No that is not correct.
Chipenzi and his friends have been asking the meaning of what twice holding office in Article 106 means. They are asking what the provisions in Article 106 mean. In short, they want to seek the Court’s interpretation of the Constitution through a Nomination Petition. And that’s why the issue is.
You cannot move the court to interpret any provisions of the Constitution through a petition. You can only get the Court to interpret those issues in Article 106 through issuing Originating Summons supported by Affidavit in the Constitutional Court. If you use the wrong mode (Petition, Writ of Summon, Notice of Motion, etc) to ask for interpretation, its possible the other side would object and the Court may dismiss the process.
This is not easier for Chipenzi to understand and understandably so because, in electoral expertise, he sees no difference between what Petitions are used for and what Originating Summons are used for in the Constitutional Court. But at least Chanda Nonde is able to comprehend that.
So, let’s get it clear: you cannot file an Election Petition to seek Interpretation of the Constitution, in particular phrases that you are not sure about in Article 106. Also true is that you cannot challenge the nomination of someone who has not filed a nomination.
These two processes of challenging the nomination of a candidate or seeking interpretation to the Constitutional are different process. Interpretation of any clause in dispute which is found in Article 106 can be done at any time and does not need to wait for someone to file a petition.
If you not sure what it means to “term of office” or “twice hold office”, you can ask the Court to interpret although this process was already done and the Court has ably interpreted the same.