Momentous Judicial Decisions in Africa on March 31, 2016

Published on 10th April 2016

The opposition produced the best evidence ever assembled in challenging an election result that I have ever studied and I have studied and written a lot of judicial challenges to election results around the globe. Almost all challenges to election results involving the presidency fail, at least they hang on some thread of justification. This one was the worst, it ignored all the evidence tendered and this evidence was in the public eye. Violence was open. The main opposition leader was in detention during the election period.

The Ugandan judicial decision is a disgrace. It lends imprimatur to the skeptics of the judiciary as a corrupt institution that does not care about justice. This decision will live into infamy and may engender a political or people's revolution along the lines experienced elsewhere.

On the other hand, the Constitutional Court of South Africa in ruling that the President violated the constitution by refusing the remedies proposed by the Public Protector to repay the money improperly spent in renovating his residence, struck a blow for democracy, accountability,  rule of law and not men and against rotten and corrupt presidential practices. This is a courageous decision that must be copied by all constitutional courts of the world.

By Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa

The author practised law in Canada for 25 years and now teaches law in Africa. He is the compiler of The Case Against Tribalism in Zambia.

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