A Colombian judge has assessed that two non-black members of Congress elected to represent Afro-Colombians “misled” the National Electoral Council, according to weekly Semana.
Maria Mercedez Lopez of the High Judicial Council is the author of a paper which finally is to be subjected to a vote this Friday among the seven magistrates of that judicial body.
The judges are meeting for a fourth time to discuss the “tutela,” a writ of protection designed to protect constitutional rights, which was put forward to challenge the election of Maria Socorro Bustamente and Moises Orozco to two Congressional seats reserved specifically for representatives of the Afro-Colombian community.
Neither Bustamente nor Orozco is Afro-Colombian, and both have been suspended from their seats since July.
Lopez has reportedly accepted the arguments of the plaintiff that neither of the members of Congress elected to fill the Afro-Colombians seats actually represent the community. It is related to a law on “double militancy” which is meant to inject some integrity into the political system by preventing politicians from bouncing from one party to the next, disregarding platforms and ideological leanings in order to obtain a position of power.
The vote on the “tutela” is reportedly divided evenly 3-3 at the moment, with the tie-braking vote to go to Piedo Sanabria who has just returned from a long trip. He has requested that he be allowed to study Lopez’s paper before deciding.
The High Judicial Council has provoked controversy in the past over its inefficiency and the lack of transparency of some of its members. Its dealings with this specific “tutela” have been a prime example.
The judge have done much to avoid making a decision. Three hearings, for which some of the judges have produced a range of excuses for not attending, have already occurred on the topic.
“There are all types of internal maneuvers that have not permitted a vote. I don’t know what’s behind it, but the Afro-Colombians deserve that this entity take this failure seriously, whatever it may be. It has been impossible,” one of the council’s judges told Semana.