Zambia: AM Lewanika and others v. FJT Chiluba (Constitutional Jurisdiction)

Published: 9/Nov/1998
Source: Supreme Court of Zambia

S.C.Z. Judgment 14 of 1998 [1998] ZMSC 11 (9 November 1998)

IN THE MATTER of an Application under Article 41(2) of the Constitution of Zambia and IN THE MATTER of the eligibility of a candidate in respect of Article 34(3) of the Constitution of Zambia and IN THE MATTER of regulation 1 5 made pursuant to the Electoral Act, 1991 and IN THE MATTER of the Presidential Election held in Zambia ‘on the 18th day of November, 1996, S.C.Z. 8/EP/3/96, S.C.Z./SIEP/3196, S.C.Z./8/EP/4/96, S.C.Z./8/EP/4196 (1998) Z.R.49 (S.C.)

The five petitioners challenged the election on 18 November 1996 of the respondent as President of Zambia on the ground that he was not qualified to be a candidate for election as president and be elected because neither he nor his parents were citizens of Zambia by birth or by decent as required by art 34(3) of Sch 2 to the Constitution of Zambia Act 1991 as amended in 1996. They pleaded that his identity and that of his parents had never been ascertained, contended that he was the illegitimate son of one of the witnesses born from an illicit liaison with the mother while she was married to a Mozambican and that he was born in the then Belgium Congo (Zaire) in 1944 when his father, the witness was an alien. They also gave evidence touching upon the respondent’s citizenship qualifications and of the possible nationalities of his father. There was no dispute that the respondent’s mother ‘belonged’ to the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia, within the meaning of s 16(3) of the 1963 Constitution, before it became the Independent state of Zambia on 24 October 1964, and would therefore, but for her prior death, have become a citizen of Zambia at independence by virtue of the 1964 Order and the 1963 Constitution. The petitioners also alleged electoral flaws in the electoral system, and asked for the avoidance of the election on the ground that it was rigged and not free and fair. Certain preliminary points arose, namely (i) what would be ‘full bench of the Supreme Court’ to hear the case as required by art 41 of the Constitution; (ii) the propriety of Cabinet ministers who were lawyers holding practising certificates appearing as counsel for the respondent, and (iii) the standard of proof required.

Held: Petition dismissed

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Themes: Nationality of Politicians
Regions: Zambia
Year: 1998