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.
Kenya’s high court stepped in, just days before that country’s presidential polls of 9 August, to overturn a decision of Kenya’s Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission, the body that runs elections. The commission had decided to bar the use of printed registers of voters as a backup to the electronic system by which the elections will be run. That decision was contained in a letter that the commission had written to one of the contending parties. The judge found that the decision violated the constitution because some voters could be refused the right to vote if they weren’t identified due to a malfunction of the technology, and declared that the decision, contained in the letter, was null and void.
As tensions rise in many African countries over inadequate service delivery and development, Kenya’s Baringo County administration is being asked to explain its advert for 600 new posts. Human rights activist, Isaiah Biwott, has successfully argued that the constitutional court should grant an interim interdict preventing the county from going ahead with interviews for more than 600 new staff. Biwott said that the constitution and other legislation caps the percentage of a county government’s total revenue that may be spent on wages at 45%, and that the county would be way over that limit if the proposed posts were filled. The money should be spent on development instead of an inflated wage bill, he said.
The blunt refusal of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta to appoint or promote six judges of the more than 40 recommended during 2019 by the Judicial Service Commission, has unleashed a storm of ligitation, with human rights and constitutional groups determined that the law should intervene to give effect to the JSC decision.
The latest in that litigation is a petition decided last week by three judges of the high court, after it was brought by a Kenyan doctor, Benjamin Magare. The judges held that certain of Magare’s petitions couldn’t be decided at this stage as they had already been determined by another bench or were up for appeal. It was, however, appropriate to resolve his petition on the question of whether the six nominees were treated differently from the rest of the 40, in a way that amounted to unlawful discrimination. They were indeed unlawfully discriminated against, said the judges, and moreover the six had a legitimate expectation that they would have been appointed, along with the rest of those recommended by the JSC.
The annual report by the US state department on the efficacy and commitment of the world’s nations to fighting human trafficking is always a moment for reflection. A particular focus of the report this year is the role that should be played by people who have had personal experience of being trafficked. But most of the report, as usual, deals with how different states are shaping up in the struggle to curb trafficking and the particular challenges that they should address in the future.