The Young African Leaders Initiative has applied before the Constitutional Court for a joinder to a petition where two Lusaka lawyers have petitioned the court to offer an interpretation on whether political parties have the right to sponsor candidates for nomination or elections as councillors.
In an application before the Constitution Court filed on behalf of YALI on Monday 9th May 2016, YALI President, Andrew Ntewewe, has submitted before the Constitutional Court that should the Electoral Commission be allowed to proceed with its advertised decision to accept nominations from candidates to local government elections, the Commission will be in breach of the Constitution of Zambia, as amended.
According to Article 60 of the Constitution, political parties now have a limited right to sponsor candidates for nomination or elections to State Office, and councillors and Mayors are not State Officers.
Further, provisions of Article 153 of the Constitution have stopped the practice where if elected councillors resigns or cease to be members of political parties they may wish to belong to as members, they cannot vacate from office because they are elected without the sponsorship of any political party.
Both YALI and the two Lusaka – based layers who initiated the petition have told the Constitutional Court that they are not challenging the right of persons to belong to any political party of their choice but the right of parties to sponsor candidates for elections as councillors.
The matter will soon come up for hearing when the Constitutional Court sets the date of hearing.