Malanji, Lusambo may be ineligible to recontest – OYV
By Oliver Chisenga
OPERATION Young Vote says Joseph Malanji and Bowman Lusambo’s may be ineligible to stand in the by-elections when called.
The elections of the two former Patriotic Front MPs were recently nullified by the court.
In a statement yesterday, OYV executive director Guess Nyirenda said the Constitution states that a person is eligible to be elected as a member of parliament if he or she had obtained a grade twelve certificate or its equivalent as a minimum academic qualification.
“Upon carefully reading through both the High Court’s decisions and the ConCourt’s subsequent upholding decisions to nullify the elections of both Joseph Malanji and Bowman Lusambo for Kwacha and Kabushi constituencies respectively and further critiquing the republican Constitution, we at Operation Young Vote (OYV) are of the considered opinion that the ineligibility of the two (2) former MPs is highly possible and attempting recontesting may be an exercise in futility,” Nyirenda said. “We say so because according to Article 70(1)(d) of the republican Constitution, subject to clause (2), a person is eligible to be elected as a member of parliament, if that person has obtained as a minimum academic qualification a grade twelve certificate or its equivalent. This provision in itself mandates a candidate to produce this requirement at nomination, whether Mr Joseph Malanji will be able to do so in three months or so.”
Further, he notes that Article 70(2)(h) espouses, in relation to disqualification of a person from being elected as a member of parliament, that “A person is disqualified from being elected as a member of parliament if that person has, in the immediate preceding five years, been removed from public office on grounds of gross misconduct.”
Nyirenda said in articulating matters to do with vacation of office as member of parliament, article 72(2)(b),(c) and (h) states that the “office of member of parliament becomes vacant if the member becomes disqualified for election in accordance with Article 70 and acts contrary to a prescribed code of conduct among others”.
He added that the office of member of parliament also becomes vacant if the member is disqualified as a result of a decision of the Constitutional Court.
“The question is how is the standing of the two former MPs in relation to the three articulated parts vis a viz the nullification of their elections? Another very interesting article to pay attention to is Article 72(4) which espouses that ‘A person who causes a vacancy in the National Assembly due to the reasons specified under clause (2) (a), (b), (c), (d), (g) and (h) shall not, during the term of that Parliament (a) be eligible to contest an election; or
(b) hold public office’. As Operation Young Vote (OYV) we are of the conviction that all the above noted articles read together make it possible that Mr Joseph Malanji and Mr Bowman Lusambo may be ineligible to stand in the by-elections when called. Particularly Article 72(4) nails it all and the two former MPs’ attempt to recontest may be an exercise in futility,” Nyirenda said.
He advised the PF to consider settling for other persons in the respective constituencies to avoid a situation of failing to field candidates.
Nyirenda challenged stakeholders to seriously take note of the constitutional provisions so that the rule of law prevails at all times especially in the electoral process.
“In conclusion, OYV would like to appeal to all political parties to bring sanity to the political and electoral space by promoting issue based politics and championing intraparty democracy by bringing young people, women and persons with disabilities to the fore especially during the candidate’s adoption processes,” said Nyirenda.