The Opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) says it will defend the Chilanga Parliamentary Seat.
UPND Deputy Spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa said the party is still popular in the area.
Speaking to ZANIS in Lusaka today, Mr. Mweetwa, who is UPND Choma Central Member of Parliament welcomed the decision by the Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini to declare the Chilanga Seat vacant.
“As a party, we’re ready to defend the Chilanga Parliamentary seat and we respect the Speaker’s verdict to declare it vacant,” Mr. Mweetwa said.
This follows the conviction of former area Member of Parliament Keith Mukata for murder.
Early this month, Dr. Matibini told Parliament that he is obliged by the Republican Constitution to write to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) informing the Commission of the vacancy in Chilanga Constituency.
The Speaker cited Article 70 (2) (F) of the amended constitution that states that a person is disqualified from being elected as a Member of Parliament if the person is serving a sentence of imprisonment for an offence under a written law.
Dr. Matibini explained that the amended constitution no longer allows a Member of Parliament who is serving a prison sentence pending appeal to continue holding the seat.
He further stated that in the case of Mr. Mukata, a certificate of death sentence is sufficient evidence that he is serving a prison sentence therefore, Mr. Mukata is disqualified.
Meanwhile, the Republican President Edgar Lungu also welcomed the decision of the Speaker of the National Assembly to declare the Chilanga Parliamentary seat vacant.
President Lungu said it is the Speaker’s jurisdiction to declare a seat vacant if need arises.
The ECZ will soon announce and set the official dates for campaigns, filling-in of nominations and voting date in Chilanga to allow political parties canvass votes from the electorates.