Steve Nyirenda

By Mwaka Ndawa

THE Constitutional Court Has ruled that NAREP president Steven Nyirenda was validly nominated for election to the office of Vice-President in accordance with Article 52 (1) of the constitution.

The court has since dismissed the matter in which Charles Maboshe petitioned the Electoral Commission of Zambia, Nyirenda and his running mate Lucy Changwe seeking the nullification of their nominations on grounds that Nyirenda’s presidency was being challenged before the High Court.

In an abridged judgement, justice Judy Mulongoti, on behalf of others, ruled that “Nyirenda was validly nominated under Article 52 (1) of the Constitution, the petition is hereby dismissed for lack of merit. We will give our reasons in the full judgement on July 2.”

Maboshe in his petition contended that the ECZ chief electoral officer had usurped the powers of the court by allowing Nyirenda to stand in the absence of the court judgment, which would lead to an interference of justice.

He said no elections had been held to vote for Nyirenda neither was an extraordinary council held to make him presidential candidate and so democracy was never exercised.

Maboshe added that Nyirenda and his running mate do not appear on the list of office bearers lodged with the registrar of societies as the list shows Elias Chipimo as president and himself as vice-president.

During hearing before judges Hildah Chibomba, Ann Sitali, Margaret Munalula, Martin Musaluke, Mwila Chitabo, Matthew Chisunka, and Mulongoti, lawyer representing Maboshe Christopher Mundia argued that the NAREP constitution establishes its executive committee which had a mandate to select a candidate.

He said the purported convention to elect Nyirenda was illegal as it violated Article 24 of the party constitution.

Mundia submitted that Nyirenda had no right to file in his nomination as a presidential candidate for the August 12 elections based on an injunction granted by the High Court.

He said the injunction confered no rights on Nyirenda and his running mate and to file nominations based on the same was frowned upon by the law as it could not be used to make favourable actions on behalf of the respondents.

Nyirenda’s lawyer, Mainga Katungu, argued that Article 52 of the constitution had no bearing on whether or not the nomination of Nyirenda and his running mate could be annulled.

“The only Constitutional Article that has addressed the issue on whether a nomination can be nullified is Article 100(2) of the constitution and none of the grounds in the said Article have been advanced in the petition,” Katungu said.

He stated that the constitution stipulated how a nomination could be nullified and Maboshe had not alleged that there was a violation of the ECZ regulations in order to have the respondents’ nomination nullified.

Katungu said a litigation before court was not among the conditions set by the constitution to nullify a presidential candidate.

He said the matter before the High Court which the petitioner was basing his reasons to have the nomination nullified was not supported by the constitution.

“Nominations under the constitution are a preserve of the Concourt and the statement of claim in the High Court case does not disclose the nomination of Nyirenda and the High Court has no authority to determine over presidential nominations and to say we wait for it to determine is an error,” Katungu said.

“The reason ECZ accepted Nyirenda’s nomination was that he qualifies after meeting the regulations of ECZ and the constitution and not because of the injunction.”

Katungu said whether or not Nyirenda and his running mate appear on the list of office bearers was not a condition set by the constitution.

And Bob Musenga, who was representing ECZ, said a perusal of the petition revealed no allegations of breach of any qualifications for presidential candidates.

“The petitioner has raised numerous allegations of breach against the party constitution which is the basis for nullifying the nomination,” he said.

Musenga submitted that Maboshe had lamentably failed to show the basis on which Nyirenda’s nomination should be nullified.

And speaking after the court’s judgement Nyirenda blamed the UPND alliance which he labelled as single-sided, for inciting leadership dissension in his party.

“All my life I have walked the way to follow rules. We have followed the rules but some people are using the back door to try and put logs in our way. Today the court’s have spoken. We were validly nominated. I want to warn other people vying for presidency, do not use shortcuts to stop other people,” Nyirenda said.

“This thing (disagreement) has been spearhead by the so called one man alliance, we know what it is. Mr Maboshe put it clear to us to say we (Maboshe and his agents) will be with you, we will agree on everything if you (Nyirenda led group) come to the UPND alliance.”

He charged that UPND alliance should not be the cornerstone in this year’s elections as the country was in dire need of good leadership and not violent parties.

“It’s not about the UPND alliance, it’s about giving this country the proper leadership that it needs, that’s what we (NAREP) stand for. We do not believe in leadership of pangas (machetes) and fighting. That one man alliance will not go anywhere, they ( UPND alliance partners) can do anything they want.”

However, Maboshe and his faction was dismayed with the Court’s judgement as no convention was held to elect Nyirenda as the presidential candidate for NAREP.

“We are not happy with the judgement but as law abiding citizens, we will go with what the court has said. Nobody is going to disenfranchise us, we will participate in this election through our structures and the UPND alliance,” said Maboshe.

“We didn’t participate in choosing Mr Nyirenda as president for NAREP. We (his faction) are the founders of NAREP, we did not take part in the convention because there has been leadership wrangles in the party and there is an injunction which hasn’t been discharged yet,” said Maboshe.


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