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Presidential Tribunal warns politicians, others against media trial

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which had it inaugural sitting on Wednesday has warned politicians and others against public analysis of its proceedings and making verdicts while the court is yet to make a pronouncement.

President of the court of appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwa, who gave out the warning, lamented the analysis of proceedings especially on social media, promising that actions will be taken against offenders.

Bulkachuwa said litigants in the pending presidential election petitions before the tribunal will have equal chance to argue their case.

“Any breach will not be condoned and we will not hesitate in taking necessary action against such offenders,” Bulkachuwa said.

“We assure all stakeholders that each litigant will be given equal opportunity to present his case in a mature manner before us.

“We are witnesses to what has been happening in high-profile cases where such cases are being discussed and publicly decided prematurely in both the social and electronic media before the announcement of the verdict by the court.

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“We pray that this time would be an exception for the benefit of the nation. We don’t expect counsel to any of the parties to hype the polity after any sitting by making a public analysis in the media as to what transpired in court.”

She urged the parties, lawyers, public commentators and journalists to refrain from public discourse of the proceedings until the tribunal pronounces its judgement.

“These proceedings should be treated as would any other low-profile case, where proceedings in court are not discussed publicly until a decision is pronounced by the court,” Bulkachuwa said.

According to her, the admonition is also extended to the parties, their respective counsel and the members of the press, stressing that the tribunal will make information available as and when due.

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