PF cadres
PF Thugs burn UPND party regalia after the youths of the two political parties clashed against each other during the Youth Day Cerebrations in Lusaka.

By MacDonald Chipenzi

OUR legal framework provides room for the thriving of corruption, violence, hate speech and other electoral malpractices.

When there was room for us to address these deficits in the electroal process Act through an amendment, only the issue of inmate vote dominated the amendments leaving out crucial sections that undermine electoral credibility.

For instance, section 97(2) of the Electoral Process Act suggests exemptions of violence, corruption and any other malpractices from affecting the election of a CANDIDATE as long as they were committed by agents without the candidate’s consent.

It states;

*”The election of a candidate as a Member of Parliament, mayor, council chairperson or councillor shall be void if, on the trial of an election petition, it is proved to the satisfaction of the High Court or a tribunal, as the case may be, that—*
(a) a corrupt practice, illegal practice or other misconduct has been committed in connection with the election—
(i) by a candidate; or
(ii) with the knowledge and consent or approval of a candidate or of that candidate’s election agent or polling agent”*

Isn’t this insulating violence, corruption and malpractice committed by the candidates and their agents in the Electoral Process as was in the case of Nkandu Luo and Margaret Mwanakatwe in 2016?

Despite the High Court finding their election marred with violence, corrption among other electoral malpractices and nullified their seats, the Constitutional Court overturned the lower court decision and reinstated them to seats citing non breach of section 97(2).

In all fairness and reasonableness, which candidate can wantonly engage, approve, consent him/herself or his/her agents to engage in violence, corruption and other malpractices and expect the same to testify against him/herself or the agent against the candidate when the election is petitioned?

So violence is going to be part of use until we change this law. It is repugnant to holding free, fair and credible elections.

I submit Chipenzi


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