Opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) Party National Secretary Muhabi Lungu has said that his party is more likely to re-adopt their Members of Parliament whose seats were nullified.
Speaking when he welcomed the supreme Court’s decree allowing opposition Members of Parliament(MP) whose seats were nullified to re-contest, Mr Lungu said that former Solwezi Member of Parliament Lucky Mulusa and former Petauke MP Dora Siliya are still Members of the MMD despite having been stripped off their party’s NEC position recently.
He said the party will no doubt re-adopt the two candidates because they are full paid up members of the former ruling party.
Mr Lungu further said that the court ruling has been made in accordance to the constitution of Zambia as well as the Electoral Code of Conduct.
Mr Lungu said that the rule of law has prevailed over the Petauke , Solwezi, Vubwi, Zambezi and Solwezi parliamentary seats which the ruling party had applied for an injunction to bar them from re contesting their seats.
He said the opposition has been vindicated adding that even the Electoral Commission(ECZ) of Zambia was ready to conduct the said parliament seats if the ruling party did not intervene using the courts of law.
Meanwhile, former Zambezi Member of Parliament Charles Kakoma said the Supreme court interpreted the law accordingly.
Mr Kakoma , who is opposition United Party for National Development(UPND) Spokesperson said his party will humiliate their opponents during Zambezi West parliamentary by elections.
He said this is a lesson to those people who do not believe in democracy especially this time when politicians are playing modern politics as opposed to colonial politics.
He stated that UPND will do everything to defend their seat by all means to teach others a nice lesson which they will never forget.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court made a landmark ruling that opposition MPs whose elections were nullified can re-contest their seats.
This is in a case where the ruling Patriotic Front had applied to bar some opposition MP whose elections were nullified on account of alleged electoral malpractices.
Delivering the landmark verdict yesterday morning, Judge Gregory Phiri and Judge Mwanamwambwa who read the judgement on behalf of the full bench said all the MPs whose seats were nullified are free to re-contest.
This means that all the former MPs for Solwezi Central, Petauke Central, Mulobezi, Kasenengwa, Vubwi, Mkushi South, Zambezi West and Malambo constituencies are free to re-contest their seats.
The full Supreme Court bench ruled that the state’s application to set aside the High Court’s ruling lacked merit.
And The Foundation for Democratic Process FODEP says yesterday’s landmark judgment by the supreme court is a victory for both the public and the former members of parliament who were bared to re contest their seats.
FODEP Executive Director McDonald Chipenzi said the out come was long overdue as the continued delay in the disposal of the cases was a violation of constitutional rights to vote and be voted for respectively.
Mr. Chipenzi said though FODEP is not in support of electoral malpractice and other illegalities; it is the organization’s view and opinion that in the absence of a court conviction of the concerned candidates, it is improper to disallow any candidate whose parliamentary seat has been nullified on account of the electoral process being marred with corruption and illegality.
He noted that the petitions where filed to determine whether the elections were free and fair and not to convict contestants as that is a different process under the current laws.
And Mr. Chipenzi says yesterday’s ruling should serve as an eye opener that should compel electoral stakeholders to campaign for new electoral laws and avoid such controversy in the future.
He said debate on the cases exposed lacunas in the ineffectiveness of the current electoral law, regulations and codes to deal with electoral corruption and other electoral malpractices hence the need to review the current electoral laws.
He also wondered why it is taking the PF government so long to effect electoral reforms when it promised to do that once elected to office.
“The debate exposed some of the serious lacunas in the ineffectiveness of the current electoral law, regulations and codes to deal with electoral corruption and other electoral malpractices. The review of the electoral Act No. 12 of 2006 is a matter of urgency and FODEP does not understand why the PF government has delayed in effecting electoral reforms when areas of reform in the electoral process are well articulated in its manifesto (2011-2016).
“Further, FODEP is concerned that despite the clarity in the constitution with regards the re-contesting or not re-contesting one’s parliamentary seats after nullifications, the Courts took too long to decide on such cases leading to the alleged violation of the Article 67(1) which requires to hold a by-election once the vacancy is due within 90 days a precedence which may have serious future repercussions.”