Zambia’s apex court gives new meaning to contentious labour law provisions

Three judges of Zamibia’s highest court have at last brought some sense to a much-disputed section in the Industrial and Labour Relations Act. It reads, ‘The court shall dispose of the matter within a period of one year from the day on which the complaint or application is presented’, and it was introduced via an amendment to the legislation about 15 years ago. But what should happen where a matter drags on beyond the year stipulated in the law?

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The problem with which Zambia’s lower courts – the high court and the appeal court – have been wrestling, is what should be done where a case involving a labour relations issue takes longer than a year to be finalised? The law clearly states that matters dealt with by the industrial relations court must be finalised within a year of filing, but it says nothing about what will happen if the matter takes longer than this to be completed.

Death penalty confirmed by Zambia’s court of appeal days before capital punishment scrapped. What happens now?

Zambia’s court of appeal has dealt with a sensational murder and arson case in a recent decision that highlights two problems. First, the court’s judgment of 16 December 2022 upheld the death penalty imposed on a woman accused of murdering her gym instructor boyfriend by setting him alight. Just days after the appeal court’s decision, however, Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema finally abolished the death penalty, leading the justice minister to comment that from now on, no court could impose the death penalty.

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Mirriam Chilosha was convicted of murder and arson for which she was sentenced to death (for murder) and to life imprisonment (for arson) by Zambia’s high court. She had killed her gym instructor boyfriend, Jeremiah Mbawa, by setting him alight. In the process she also set fire to the house belonging to Floriana Lodge, where he was staying.

No proof of grade 12 school certificate, so re-election of Zambian former minister declared invalid

When President Edgar Lungu lost the elections in Zambia in August 2021, one of the members of his party who was re-elected as an MP was Joseph Malanji, a former foreign minister. But that re-election was disputed by a rival for his seat who claimed Malanji did not meet the criteria because he did not have a grade 12 certificate, a requirement for election. The high court decided that the election was not valid. Malanji then appealed and the constitutional court of Zambia has now given its decision on the matter.


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