Three Zambian church groups have called for peace ahead of an anticipated court ruling on the opposition’s challenge to the results of the August 11 presidential election.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia, the Council of Churches in Zambia and the Catholic Bishops Conference called on leaders of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) and the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party to ensure their supporters do not engage in acts of violence after the court’s ruling.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia declared Edgar Lungu the winner of the presidential election with 50.35 percent of the total votes cast, compared to 47.67 percent for the main opposition candidate, Hakainde Hichilema, of the UPND.
But UPND have petitioned the Constitutional Court demanding the declaration that President Lungu and Mrs Wina were not validly elected as President-elect and Vice-President-elect of Zambia in last month’s general elections.
Many Zambians have expressed concern about possible clashes between supporters of the two parties after the court’s ruling, which is expected Friday.
In an interview with Voice of America, Father Cleophas Lungu, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference, said the church groups have appealed for calm.
“We also indicated that we are concerned that there hasn’t been enough commitment from the political leaders both from the Patriotic Front as well as the UPND with regard to accepting the outcome of the ruling,” he said.
Yesterday, the Constitutional Court has ruled that it will today hear and conclude the presidential petition in which United Party for National Development (UPND) President Hakainde Hichilema is challenging the election of President Lungu and Vice- President Inonge Wina in last month’s general elections.
The Constitutional Court has also rejected an application by Mr Hichilema and his running mate Geoffrey Mwamba to amend the petition.