THE UPND has written the ECZ demanding that the Commission rescinds its decision to call for fresh nominations in Lusaka Central Constituency.

On June 3, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) cancelled nominations in Lusaka Central, Mandevu, and Mpulungu constituencies due to the death of one candidate and resignations of others.

“…In this regard, the Commission will be conducting fresh nominations for Mandevu Constituency, Lusaka, necessitated by the death of Mrs Melody Musutu and the resignation of three candidates – Ms Charity Lumpa in Lusaka Central Constituency, Lusaka, Mr Gilbert Bwali Musonda in Mpulungu Constituency, Mpulungu and Mr Chewe Kateule in Kamakonde Ward, Bwacha Constituency, Kitwe,” said chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano.

But in a letter to Nshindano, UPND lawyers M Associates argued that Charity Lumpa who withdrew from the race did not stand on any political party ticket, but as an Independent.

The lawyers argue that Lumpa could not therefore be said to have resigned when she did not represent any organisation as a parliamentary candidate.

“We wish to also state in no uncertain terms that a person cannot ‘resign’ from a nomination but from his or her sponsoring political party. A candidate can only ‘withdraw’ from a nomination and the two words cannot and must be used interchangeably,” reads the letter in part. “We have reasons to believe that the Commission may have misapprehended and misapplied the provisions of Article 52(6) of the Constitution with regards to the Lusaka Central seat and we are therefore instructed to demand and we so demand that you rescind the impugned decision to cancel the elections for Lusaka Central Parliamentary seat on or before Monday 28th June, 2021.”

The lawyers added that the decision was not supported by the law.

They contended that Lumpa chose to stand as an Independent candidate after being left out of adoption by the PF.

“The indubitable facts of the matter are that Ms Charity Lumpa contested to be adopted on the Patriotic Front (PF) ticket but was not successful hence her resignation from the PF to stand as an Independent candidate,” the UPND argued further. “Her nomination as an Independent candidate was accepted by the Commission but she later withdrew from the race as such pursuant to Section 31(2) of the electoral process Act No. 35 of 2016, pledging her support and loyalty to the incumbent President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, which is her right.”

They contended that Lumpa did not resign from any party as an Independent, so she could not legally cause a cancellation of nominations.

“Our client posit that Ms Lumpa did not and could not resign from any political Party after her nomination owing to the fact that she was an Independent Candidate without any strings attached to her erstwhile sponsor, the PF, or any party for that matter,” argued the UPND. “We therefore contend that Article 52(6) of the Constitution of Zambia ditto does not apply to the case of Lusaka Central since there was no resignation by Ms Lumpa from any sponsoring Party, save for her withdrawal from the race under Section 31(2) of the electoral Act by delivery to the returning officer of written notice to that effect. Further to the foregoing, a withdraw from the race is not covered under the umbrella of Article 52(6) of the Constitution.”

UPND candidate for Lusaka Central Constituency Mulambo Haimbe has also asked the ECZ to rescind the decision.

Haimbe, who is also a lawyer, said the Commission does not have the authority to cancel elections and call for fresh nominations under Article 52(6) of the Constitution.

“Withdrawal from contesting an election by any independent candidate is separate and distinct from resignation as envisaged under Article 52(6),” said Haimbe in a letter dated June 24, 2021 and addressed to Nshindano. “The Commission is requested to issue the requisite notice reversing its earlier announcement forthwith, failing which the undersigned shall be constrained to take out necessary process to protect his interest. The undersigned’s legal representatives are copied hereto with instructions to take out the relevant process against the Commission by close of business on June 25, 2021 in the unlikely event that the requisite notice shall not have been issued.”


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