The Electoral of Zambia has announced that the delayed controversial Kabushi and Kwacha parliamentary by-elections on the Copperbelt Province will take place on Friday, 21st October 2022.
This is despite the ongoing court case in which former Kabushi Member of Parliament Bowman Lusambo and former Kwacha Member of Parliament Joseph Malanji are seeking to re-contest their old parliamentary seats.
The ECZ stopped Mr. Lusambo and Mr. Malanji from re-contesting the by-elections by refusing to get their nominations.
The two by-elections were initially scheduled to be held on 15th September 2022 but could not proceed due to a court ruling.
The Lusaka High Court on 13th September 2022 granted Mr. Lusambo and Mr. Malanji a stay for the by elections in Kabushi and Kwacha constituency not to proceed as planned on 15th September, 2022.
In a statement issued late on Tuesday afternoon, ECZ commissioners stated that the campaign period commences today and will go on until 21st October, 2022.
The ECZ statement did not touch on the pending court case regarding the disqualification of Mr. Lusambo and Mr. Malanji from the two by-elections.
ECZ commissioners, Ambassador Ali Simwinga, retired Major General Vincent Mukanda and Ambassador Ndiyoi Mutiti in a joint statement said the decision follows a meeting held to decide the Commission’s position on the two parliamentary by-elections.
“As the public may be aware, the by-elections for Kabushi and Kwacha Constituencies were scheduled to take place on 15th September 2022.However, the Commission could not proceed to conduct the by-elections following the High Court ruling delivered on 13th September 2022,staying/suspending the election for the two constituencies. Members of the public may also recall that two independent candidates had resigned from their candidature and that the said candidates have since rescinded their resignations,” the joint statement said.
The Commissioners said they were aware that the Constitution gives 90 days in which to conduct a by-election.
“In view of that, the Commission at a Commission meeting resolved that the poll date for the by-elections for Kabushi and Kwacha Constituencies shall be on Friday 21st October 2022. The polls will take place from 06:00 hours to 18:00 hours,” the statements said.
Four candidates filed their nomination in the Kabushi election while five candidates managed to file their nomination in Kwacha Constituency in August, 2022.
Meanwhile, the High Court had last month granted the prayer by former Kwacha PF Member of Parliament Joseph Malanji and his Kabushi counterpart Bowman Lusambo to suspend the by-elections in the two constituencies pending determination of the matter in which they have contested the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s decision to declare their nomination invalid.
Judges Mwape Bowa, Sharon Newa and Catherine Phiri ruled that though the High Court does not have the authority to make a determination on constitutional matters, Article 52(4) of the constitution gives it the power to handle challenges relating to nominations in an election.
The trio said proceeding with the by-elections would be of grave injustice to Mr. Malanji and Mr. Lusambo as there was a likelihood of disenfranchising the duo by the time their petition would be determined.
Earlier in September, the Constitution Court declared Bowman Lusambo and Joseph Malanji eligible to re-contest the Kabushi and Kwacha parliamentary by elections respectively.
Mr. Lusambo and Mr. Malanji had challenged in court the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s decision to reject their nomination to re-contest the Kabushi and Kwacha seat respectively.