ECZ was wrong to allow Lungu on the ballot in the 2021 poll – Chizombe

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YOUTH activist Michelo Chizombe has maintained that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) violated the Constitution when it permitted Edgar Lungu to participate in the 2021 general elections.

He said the electoral body ought to have rejected Lungu’s nomination papers as he did not qualify to contest for the presidency thrice.

Chizombe is questioning Lungu’s eligibility to contest in the 2021 general election and future elections after being sworn into the office of President twice

He wants the Court to declare that Lungu’s participation in the previous election was unconstitutional.

Chizombe who has cited Lungu, the Electoral Commission of Zambia and the Attorney General as respondents in the matter indicated that Lungu contravened the constitution when he participated in the August 12, 2021 general elections.

In its answer to the petition, the ECZ said it abided by the requisite laws during the processing of Lungu’s nomination and did not breach any provisions of the law or constitution during that process.

Brown Kasaro who is the chief electoral officer said ECZ is guided by the relevant Electoral laws which, among others, include the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act no. 2 of 2016 , Electoral Process Act no.35 of 2016 and Regulations promulgated thereunder.

He said ECZ abided by all the requisite laws for processing nominations for presidential candidates.

“Article 52 (2) of the Constitution (Amendment) Act no. 2 of 2016 obliges the second respondent to either accept or reject nomination papers filed by a candidate wishing to contest for Presidential elections,”said Kasaro.

“Article 52 of the Constitution (Amendment) Act no.2 of 1016 provides adequate grievance mechanisms to challenge the nomination process.”

In his reply to ECZ, Chizombe said Article 52 being referred to by ECZ mandates the returning officer to reject the nomination papers if the candidate does not meet the qualifications or procedural requirements specified for election to the office of president.

“The subsequent nomination of Lungu and consequent participation in the general elections of 2021 was unconstitutional,” said Chizombe.

“The second respondent was in breach of its Constitutional provisions when it accepted the nomination of the first respondent by putting him on the ballot paper and later enabling him to participate in the August 2021 elections.”

By Mwaka Ndawa

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