John Sangwa


CONSTITUTIONAL Lawyer John Sangwa says ECZ is causing problems to the electoral process with its interpretation of the law.

And UPND chairperson for legal affairs Jack Mwiimbu says the decision taken by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to cancel the Lusaka Central parliamentary election is unlawful.

Article 52(6) of the Republican Constitution states that: “Where a candidate dies, resigns or becomes disqualified in accordance with Article 70, 100 or 153 or a court disqualifies a candidate for corruption or malpractice, after the close of nominations and before the election date, the Electoral Commission shall cancel the election and require the filing of fresh nominations by eligible candidates and elections shall be held within thirty days of the filing of the fresh nominations.”

On Wednesday, ECZ cancelled and called for fresh nominations for Mandevu Constituency, Lusaka Central Constituency, Mpulungu Constituency and Kamakonde Ward in Bwacha Constituency.

ECZ attributed the cancelation of the Lusaka Central Parliamentary election to the resignation of independent candidate Charity Lumpa.

Reacting to the development, Sangwa said resigning and withdrawing do not mean the same thing.

“It’s not as complicated as they are making it to be. They cannot cancel the election for Lusaka and Mpulungu where the candidates who have resigned are independent. The reason for that is very simple, when you are an independent you are sponsoring yourself. In fact there is a definition that is you are an independent candidate you should not have belonged to a party at least two months before the nomination date. ��When you talk about resignation, it means you must resign from your own party. You have two types of candidates, you have independent and sponsored candidates. If you are sponsored you are owned by the party that will finance you, so when you decide to resign from the party, then ECZ has to nullify those nominations and cancel elections because if you don’t the political party will be disadvantaged,” said Sangwa.

“Withdrawing and resigning cannot mean the same thing. You cannot resign from a position of being a validly nominated candidate, but you can resign from a party. What Charity Lumpa has done in Lusaka is that she has withdrawn from the race as a self sponsored candidate, even her letter is not talking about resigning, she has withdrawn, which is her prerogative. It is the interpretation by ECZ which is causing problems. Right now, there is no need to call for fresh nominations in Lusaka and Mpulungu because these candidates have just withdrawn, which is their prerogative. The provision of the law is very clear. In fact it is in the interest of ECZ to say we are not cancelling the elections in Lusaka Central and Mpulungu, we are going ahead and we are not going to waste money. If they did that, whoever is unhappy would go to court. But they are doing the opposite. They are creating a position where ECZ will have to be sued now. They are just creating problems.”

And Mwiimbu in a separate interview argued that Lumpa did not resign as she merely withdrew from the race and that her decision to withdraw from the election did not warrant the cancelation of the election.

“Yesterday the Electoral Commission of Zambia issued a statement that they are cancelling the election in Mpulungu, Mandevu and Lusaka Central amongst others and that they will call for fresh elections. I would like to state in no uncertain terms that the interpretation of the Electoral Commission of Zambia in relation to article 52 (6) of the Constitution of Zambia is flawed. I have noted that they have included Lusaka Central as one of the constituencies where they are going to cancel the elections and call for fresh elections. It must be noted that the Constitution provides for cancelation of an election in the event of death, in the event of resignation and disqualification as a result of certain provisions of the Constitution in particular by the courts of law,” Mwiimbu said.

“In the situation that is obtaining in Lusaka Central, there is nowhere where the situation fits article 52 (6). Charity Lumpa whom they are attributing resigned, she did not resign. Charity Lumpa was an independent candidate. An independent cannot resign from any position, all what an independent candidate can do is to withdraw from the race. A withdrawal from the race does not warrant cancelation of elections. So, in this situation it is folly of the Electoral Commission of Zambia to cancel the election because Charity Lumpa withdrew from the race.”

Mwiimbu said Lumpa’s decision to withdraw from the race was not covered by article 52(6) of the Constitution of Zambia.


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