The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) cannot be allowed to apply the Constitution with double-standards in breach of the Constitution, governance expert, Isaac Mwanza, has told the Constitutional Court.
In an Affidavit in reply to the Commission filed on Friday, Mr Mwanza submitted the Commission’s conduct of a by-election in Chilongozi Ward of Sinda District where United Party for National Development (UPND) Councillor resigned and later retracted his resignation would be a breach of the Constitution when ECZ has okayed retractions of resignations in other wards.
Mr. Mwanza is, among other things, seeking the Court to determine whether a by-election held for purposes of Articles Article 57, 157(2)(b) and 158 (1) after a councillor unilaterally rescinds his or her resignation within 30 days, would be valid for all intents.
In his affidavit in response to the ECZ, Mr Mwanza has stated that the ECZ has failed to respond on whether the Constitution provides for a councillor who resigns to unilaterally rescind their resignation.
“That as regards paragraph 6, the view expressed by the deponent remains subject to interpretation by the Honourable Court as Articles 157(2)(b) read together with 158(1)(a) of the Constitution do not expressly disclose the point at which a vacancy occurs,” stated Mwanza.
While agreeing that ECZ is not responsible for resignations of councillors, Mr Mwanza submitted the Commission conducted an election in Chilongozi Ward on the basis that the Constitution does not provide for withdrawal or retraction of a resignation as was guided.
If the Constitutional Court determines a councillor can resign and retract his resignation, the conduct of a by-election in Chilongozi Ward which was held by the UPND would be declared a nullity.
ECZ cannot run away from being held responsible in the name that they ain’t liable for resignations. They must be convinced before conducting a by election whether its really vacant or not, especially if one withdraws resignation
So ECZ has refused to conduct other by elections when it conducted the one in Sinda? Good case! Let them conduct by elections in all or reverse the Sinda one!
Am interested in following outcome of this case. Sounds like ECZ is in Catch-22 and only technicalities will save them. Let them go ahead and conduct elections in all wards
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