Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Electoral Commission of Zambia’s Decision is a Violation of the Rule of Law

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By Linda Kasonde Chapter One Executive Director

Chapter One Foundation promotes and protects human rights, social justice, constitutionalism, and the rule of law in Zambia, primarily through public interest litigation, advocacy, and capacity building. Our aim is to promote and protect the Constitution and the rights included in it and by so doing, free the space for Zambians to fully participate in the democratic governance of their country.

We note with concern the decision of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to proceed with the by-elections in the Kabushi and Kwacha constituencies despite the fact that there is still an on-going court case in which the occupancy of the seat is in question. The ECZ has it that the reason for this decision is the fact that the Constitution requires a by-election to be held within 90 days of the occurrence of a vacancy in the office of Member of Parliament.

In arriving at its decision to stay the elections, the High Court was aware of the requirement that a by-election be held within 90 days of a vacancy. The Court addressed its mind to this requirement and decided that the elections be suspended/stayed until the determination of the matter before it. To our knowledge, the stay ordered by the High Court, as correctly cited by the Commission, has not been discharged. Subsequently, the decision by the ECZ to proceed with the by-election is not only presumptuous as to the outcome of the court case but is all in direct contravention of a court order. This is subsequently a violation of the rule of law.

In our democracy, the courts wield the sole power to interpret and enforce the provisions of our Republican Constitution. While institutions such as the Electoral Commission of Zambia have Constitutionally defined powers, these must always be exercised within the limits of the law. In this case, the power of the Commission to appoint a date for the Kabushi and Kwacha by-elections has been suspended by the High Court through a legal and legitimate process.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia is established to implement the electoral process and conduct elections. In carrying out its constitutional mandate, it is imperative that the Commission inspires confidence in the integrity of the electoral process. The integrity of the Electoral Commission of Zambia and confidence the public has in its operations are dependent on the sagacity it exhibits in such situations. In addition, the Commission is obligated to ensure that the electoral process is free and fair.

Fairness includes abiding by the orders of constitutionally established Courts and in so doing, promoting the rule of law. The fate of our democracy is dependent on the way election administrators manage the various interests at play. When democracy and the rule of law win, the people of Zambia emerge victorious.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Edgar Lungu is to blame. Had he done the right thing we were not going to have these Brentwood crooks running our country….he should not allowed his cadres to behave like thugs and he shouldn’t have attempted to go for the two and a half terms.
    Now we’re in trouble…. everything is now controlled from outside the law.

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    • Tarino Orange you should worry about Romeo Kangombe who has been mentioned in the 13 kidnapping case.
      Also you should worry about the ecz chaps because they we be arrested at one point.

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    • Deja Vu @1.2

      ( ROMEO KANGOMBE ) should have been censored by UPND or HH himself. This chap is not straight in his head. The 13 Kidnapping is about to haunt UPND, the so called party that respects the law. No wonder GRZ are keeping tight lipped

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  2. Linda, you were a darling of this New Doom regime before August 2021 but believe me their praise singers will shower you with insults here.

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  3. Never too late can the entire ECZ be fired and jailed for abrogating the law, this is very dengerous for our democracy and our country at large.ECZ has committed a very serious offence,contempt of court,the court ruled and suspended the by-election and the case is again in the courts of law and here is ci ECZ making pronoucements that they are going ahead.To the one directing ECZ to act the way they are acting stop before you put them in problems and to ECZ stand your grounds let no one control you remotly you are learned and stop that alkward behavour and behave yourselves.

  4. I thought the constitution says elections must be held within 90 days. Does Linda want this to be ignored for the sake of two lunatics? HH’s petition in 2016 went nowhere because the constitution says 14 days. What’s so special about Lusambo surely??

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    • For anything in this country, when the court of law says it should not be done or go ahead, it’s to be obeyed until the issue is disposed of. Ninety days is if everything is in order.
      Suppose the election is petitioned and the courts declare it null and void what do you suggest will follow?

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    • Deja Vu, donno if you been following things here but the last injunction awarded to bene Lusambo was dismissed by the appeals court. So right now there is no court case or decision by the courts to say the elections must not go ahead.

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    • Challenging a court order is the greatest crime one can commit.
      Just wait for the officials from the ECZ being bundled to prison.

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  5. Where are Proffesors Hansungule and Ndulo who were pretending to Care for this country? Why are they quite now after misleading us to vote for these crooks who have no regards for our Law? Does it mean they support this lawlessness?

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  6. HIgh Court Denies The State To Stay The Suspension Of The Bye Elections.
    Date: 16/09/2022

    “On Tuesday this week, the Lusaka High Court suspended the Kwacha and Kabushi Parliamentary by-elections following the application by two former parliamentarians Joseph Malanji and Bowman Lusambo.

    Mr. Malanji and Mr. Lusambo of the Patriotic Front (PF) contended that unless the by-elections were suspended, they would suffer prejudice.
    However, the State has been granted leave to refer to the Constitutional Court some questions in the matter where Patriotic Front (PF) Kwacha Member of parliament Joseph Malanji and his Kabushi counterpart Bowman Lusambo have petitioned the rejection of their nomination papers.

    The High Court is therefore today expected to hear Mr. Lusambo’s and Mr…

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  7. to say it happened in 2016 so let it happen nafiti i think sinshi a lot of the wrongs which were happening during the PF we are yet to see them nafiti, the zambians VOTED for the upnd because of their good promises they were promising not what they are doing now.

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  8. WHY HAS EVERYONE GONE MAD ALL OF A SUDDEN? ECZ, DEC ETC ETC. ARE THEY LISTENING TO CHIPENZI’S ONE SIDED ANALYIS?

  9. When you hear of civil wars in surrounding countries what comes to mind is that those people don’t think…. it’s not true… it’s because people have nowhere to take their grievances.

  10. To have peace, PF should be deregistered, even for no reason is still good enough for us as a country to have them deregistered, I am not PF but thank me later

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    • You are not PF and you want PF to get
      deregistered. I am afraid you have to have a very good reason to have a party or organization to be deregistered. Are you afraid they may bounce back? No need to worry, parties in Zambia never bounce back.

  11. The judges could have expediated the hearing to be within the 90 days or ruled on the implications of their stay or at its very best how this should be interpreted in view of their decision

    • Courts don’t operate to your timetable otherwise you the same people you will accuse them of not doing a thorough job

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