The cancellation of nominations in three constituencies and two wards requiring candidates to file fresh nominations and pay fees again is not only a consequence of bad law at play, but a lesson to politicians in the habit of politicising every issue.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on Wednesday announced that nominations for Lusaka Central, Mpulungu and Mandevu parliamentary seats have been cancelled and candidates have to file fresh papers following the death and withdrawal of some contenders.Parliamentary candidates have to pay new nomination fees of K13,500 for women and K15,000 for men.

Fresh nominations will also be done in Kamakonde ward of Nkana constituency in Kitwe and Matanda ward in Kafue.The decision taken by ECZ is within what is provided for by the law.

Article 52(6) of the 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 nomination.

”Political parties have expressed mixed feelings over the decision by ECZ to cancel the nominations in the three constituencies and two wards and for candidates to pay the fees again. While some politicians admit that the issue at hand is legally binding and beyond ECZ’s discretion, others feel that filing of fresh nominations should have been restricted to the party whose candidates died or resigned.

Some politicians also feel that while it is justified to cancel nominations and call for fresh ones in an instance where one candidate has died, this should not be the case when one resigns as this sets a bad precedent.Imagine what would happen if this scenario repeats itself in the same constituencies or others in the next few weeks.

Total chaos!Unfortunately this bad precedent is backed by the Constitution – the supreme law of the land.ECZ is simply applying the law as mandated. ECZ’s hands are tied by the law. If ECZ acts otherwise, it will be abrogating the law for which it can be held liable.It is indisputable that this is a bad law which needs amendment. As the law stands, if any candidate is bought or choses to resign for reasons known to themselves, their opponents are the ones who are made to pay again for their bad decision.

This law makes it easy for unpopular candidates to frustrate the seemingly popular candidates by simply resigning or pulling out. This disadvantages candidates without adequate financial resources. This takes us back to the failed amendment of Bill number 10. Our memories are still very fresh on how some of our politicians fought tooth and nail against the proposed constitutional amendments.

Through Bill 10, it was proposed that amendments be made to the contentious Public Order Act and Electoral Process.The proposed bill was meant to address lacunas identified in these current laws.But some of our politicians, being experts at politicking, went to great lengths to discredit the proposed amendments for political mileage.

The calls to consider the good aspects of the proposed Bill 10 and work on any contentious clauses all fell on deaf ears, which ears are now wide open.A certain section of politicians did not want anything to do with the amendments.It is surprising that the same people are crying foul at the application of the law they fought so hard to keep.

This is indeed a lesson to politicians, and lawmakers in particular, to always apply objectivity when addressing issues of national importance.If our politicians were sincere and objective in their debates over the proposed Bill 10 amendments, today we would not be dealing with such an evidently unfair law.For now this is a bitter pill that politicians have to swallow, hoping that lessons have been learnt going forward

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