Saturday, June 22, 2024

PF to Commence Legal action against Electoral Commission of Zambia

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The opposition Patriotic Front (PF) has said it is commencing appropriate legal action against Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for deciding to proceed with the by-elections in Kabushi and Kwacha constituencies on the Copperbelt Province without awaiting the outcome of the court processes.

PF acting Secretary General Nickson Chilangwa said the decision of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to proceed with the by-elections in Kabushi and Kwacha constituencies without awaiting the outcome of the court processes is an abrogation of the Constitution and contempt of court.

The Electoral of Zambia on Tuesday announced that the delayed controversial Kabushi and Kwacha parliamentary by-elections 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 in the by-elections by refusing to get their nominations saying they caused the two by elections.

In a statement, Mr Chilangwa said in the legal action ECZ and its commissioners will be cited for contempt of court in their individual capacities.

He warned that the behaviour of ECZ is not only illegal but extremely reckless, irresponsible and is a recipe for serious public discordant.

“On 24th August, 2022 the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) issued a circular to the effect that those whose elections in Kabushi and Kwacha constituencies were nullified would not be allowed to contest the elections.Our candidates went and filed their nominations which were rejected by the returning officer and we proceeded to court. The elections were stayed by the High Court and the stay is still in force. Today ECZ has issued a statement that they will proceed with the elections in the two constituencies.We find the decision of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to proceed with the by-elections in Kabushi and Kwacha constituencies without first awaiting the outcome of the court processes, an abrogation of the Constitution and gross contempt of court.
This is the very behaviour by the ECZ that caused the current legal impasse that the country is experiencing over the Kabushi and Kwacha by-elections,” Mr. Chilangwa said.

“The behaviour of ECZ is not only illegal but extremely reckless and irresponsible and is a recipe for serious public discordant.It is now clear to the Zambian people that the ECZ has no desire whatsoever to allow the people of Kwacha and Kabushi to have a free and fair election and vote for candidates of their choice.ECZ and the public are fully aware that the issues of the by-elections in Kabushi and Kwacha are subject of active court processes to which the ECZ itself is part to. There are currently three court processes concerning the Kwacha and Kabushi by-elections;The High Court gave a specific order, ordering ECZ to stay the elections in Kwacha and Kabushi. The Court of Appeal ordered a stay of the delivery of the judgment of the High Court pending determination of the appeal filed by the Attorney General and the ECZ itself and there are proceedings in the Constitution Court on the interpretation of the 90 day period set by the Constitution concerning the period of holding of by-elections,” he said.

Mr. Chilangwa added:”ECZ and the public may wish to be reminded that the Court of Appeal has ruled, suspending the running of the days until it makes its ruling on the matter.Clearly ECZ is working on the instructions of the UPND to disenfranchise Hon Bowman Lusambo, Hon Joseph Malanji and the Patriotic Front from participating in the Kabushi and Kwacha by-elections. Zambians must brace themselves for a complete degeneration of Constitutionalislim and the total breakdown of the rule of law as the UPND gets more and more desperate to resuscitate its fading popularity.
We wish to inform our members and the nation at large, that the Patriotic Front has instructed its lawyers to commence appropriate legal action against ECZ including citing the ECZ commissioners for contempt of court in their individual capacities.”

Meanwhile, Zambia Must Prosper Party (ZMP) is shocked by the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s (ECZ) decision to set Friday 21st October, 2022 as the day of voting in the Kwacha and Kabushi constituencies by-election when there is an active high court order for stay and other legal challenges awaiting final determination.

ZMP Party Spokesperson Trymore Mwenda said the decision by the commission is disregard for the courts of law by the ECZ under the UPND government.

“Zambia Must Prosper Party (ZMP) is shocked by the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s (ECZ) decision to set Friday 21st October, 2022 as the day of voting in the Kwacha and Kabushi constituencies by-election when there is an active high court order for stay and other legal challenges awaiting final determination.This total disregard for the courts of law by the ECZ under the UPND government is worrying and a matter which should be stopped or the country’s hard fought democracy is headed for doom.The UPND government seems determined to turn this country into a banana republic as the latest breach by the ECZ is not the first but a series of systematic events clearly engineered at disadvantaging opponents,” Mr. Mwenda said.

He charged that the New Dawn government has captured ECZ.

“We have stated in the past and what ECZ is doing confirms the shrinking political freedoms of opposition political parties in this country since UPND assumed office.The UPND government and ECZ must know that this country belongs to all of us and that such arrogance can only be tolerated up to a certain point thus we urge them to do things for the greater good of the country.Zambians have not forgotten of an audio recording which went viral of two top UPND officials plotting to disadvantage a named opposition political party during the Kabwata parliamentary by-election.It is clear ECZ is captured and working under difficult circumstances so much so that it is literally fighting the judiciary a situation which is a threat to the country’s constitutional democracy.We urge the ECZ officials to free themselves from the hands of the UPND manipulators because posterity will judge them harshly as UPND will one day be out of government,” Mr. Mwenda said.

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.

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.

10 COMMENTS

  1. The moment ECZ unconstitutionally rejected the nomination credentials for those two gentlemen, the institution created a constitutional crisis
    The Attorney General compounded it by “stopping” the High Court from passing judgement yesterday, pending his joinder to the case, on why ECZ hasn’t cancelled elections for fresh nominations. Later same day ECZ announced new dates for the same legally contested elections. How??
    ECZ is the biggest culprit.

  2. Upnd wants to turn Zambia into a animal farm. They are jokers if you don’t understand things why not consult! It’s not a crime to consult, What a useless government.

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  3. It is a wise step.
    It is terribly sorry that at times it is very important to gauge they self so carefully. Pretending things never happened is no defense.
    Some people took the plan all the way to Zambian Embassy in Turkey when it was approved by their able Cabinet that, that Zambian embassy building needed expansion.
    Some clever person by half went there and took the money and flow to the Southern Africa and came back with two birds!
    Zambia is a free country, but not in this manner.

  4. ECZ it’s still not too late. You can still call for fresh nominations and allow those people to stand so that the people themselves can decide whom they want and not ECZ. Let democracy prevail.

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  5. Lusambo and Malanji are good riddance from the public service. We cant have such corrupt and shameless people with impunity occupying public office

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  6. I doubt these two bye elections will take place on the 21st , the reason is 1. There will be legal challenges to stop the bye elections 2. if the legal challenges do not succeed in stopping the bye elections, the two PF plants called independents will resign again before the due date of the bye elections

  7. TIMELY ADVICE to all Officers in the Police, DEC, ACC, the Judiciary & ECZ. Human life spans for up 90 years. It is best to enjoy a happy & less-stressful life as one attains the age of 60-90 years. But love for excessive monetary gains has compelled some Civil Servants to ply into a system of persecuting innocent Zambians. Yet this Govt will end within FOUR years – up to 2026. Note that patriotic Civil Servants are recording atrocities being currently committed to persecute innocent lives. Since “MULANDU TAUBOLA”, perpetrators of atrocious persecutions will soon be legally prosecuted and jailed – to live miserable lives as they attain the ages of 60-90 years old.

  8. Why arrest the Ecz officials? why take the the ecz to court for following and doing what is right? Has the constitution changed? IS IT DAGA WHICH IS WORKING? PLZ READ THE ELECTORAL ACT VERY WELL

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