The ruling United Party for National Development -UPND- has asked the Constitutional Court to remove Section 97(2) from the electoral law, in a move that will see the courts easily nullify parliamentary and local government seats which have been challenged.
Section 97(2)(a) requires a higher standard of proof in election petitions for the courts to nullify elections and the petitioner is required to show that the candidate and his agents were involved in some malpractice and the majority of voters were prevented from voting for a candidate of their choice.
In a petition filed on 3rd November, 2021, UPND Media Committee Member Joseph Busenga has asked the Court to expeditiously hear his petition before the courts conclude hearing petitions and appeals arising from the August 12th 2021 general elections.
Mr. Busenga hopes the hearing of his petition will be expedited in line with the recent judicial precedent as it has the bearing on the ongoing petitions brought before the High Court, the Electoral Tribunals under Section 97 (2) (a) of the Electoral Process Act No (35) of 2016 as well as appeals before the constitutional Court.
The UPND, which petitioned all parliamentary seats won by the PF and Independents and over 400 local government seats have suffered defeats in many of these petitions as the petitioners failed to satisfy the provisions of Article 97(2)(a).
If the petition before the Constitutional Court is successful, the UPND will seek the nullification of seats during the appeal processes which take years to conclude.
The UPND currently cannot pass Bills and motions which require two third majority of MPs to vote such as Constitutional Bill and removal of immunity of former Presidents.