THE ruling Patriotic Front (PF) has applied for Judicial Review in the Lusaka High Court to compel the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to announce the date for a by-election in Kasama Central Constituency.
PF contends that the seat which was held by Mr Geoffrey Mwamba on a PF ticket was declared vacant and that there was no stay that had been granted to him by any Court in Zambia preventing the respondents from announcing the election date.
The party was also seeking a declaration that the decision of the respondents not to announce the date for a by-election was illegal as their actions were contrary to the provisions of Articles 67 and 71 of the Constitution.
In an application for Judicial Review filed by the party’s Secretary General Davies Chama says the Court should grant him leave to commence proceedings against ECZ and Attorney General because they have illegally refused or neglected to announce the by-election date.
“The respondent’s refusal to set a date is both unreasonable and prejudicial to the applicant as an interested party as the by-election by virtue of Article 67 of the Constitution must be held before October 22 this year,” he said.
Mr Chama said the respondents were mandated to announce the date for a by-election for the seat within 90 days from the date it fell vacant and that in an event that leave was granted, the Court should direct that the matter be heard expeditiously.
He stated that Kasama Central Constituency would effectively be without an elected Member of Parliament (MP) for more than 90 days to the detriment of not only the other interested political parties but also the constituents.
“ That failure by this Court to grant this application will perpetrate an injustice and illegality that could cause a serious constitutional crisis,” he said.
Mr Mwamba’s seat was declared vacant by the Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini after he publicly announced through the media that he had accepted the position of vice president in the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) on July 22 this year.
The PF contended that Mr Mwamba’s decision to accept the position in another political party was an indication that he effectively became a member of that party.
He said he had been forced to seek Judicial Review due ECZ’s response in a letter he wrote to it requesting the commission to announce the date of a by-election in order to avert a constitutional crisis.