Vubwi and Zambezi West Parliamentary seat nullifications upheld

Opposition political parties in Zambia
Opposition political parties in Zambia
THE Supreme Court has upheld the nullification of the Vubwi Parliamentary seat held by Eustarckio Kazonga and Zambezi West for Charles Kakoma.

The two members of Parliament (MP) have lost their seats on grounds that they breached the Electoral Code of Conduct during elections.

The Vubwi seat, which is in Eastern Province, belonged to the MMD while Zambezi West was under the United Party for National Development (UPND).

The court has since ordered for fresh elections in both constituencies.

Supreme Court judge Muyinda Wanki said in his judgment that both respondents participated in illegal activities that prevented the majority voters from electing their preferred MPs, although the malpractices were not widespread.

The findings were that there was overwhelming evidence that the two MPs had engaged in illegal activities that warranted the court to nullify their election.

Dr Kazonga’s election results were petitioned by losing Patriotic Front (PF) candidate Vincent Isaiah Mwale while Christabel Ndimu, also from the PF, petitioned Mr Kakoma’s election.

“We are of the view that the first respondent, Dr Kazonga’s giving of K20, 000 to each of the headmen that attended his meetings prior to elections was a corrupt practice which the learned trial judge should have considered under sections of the law,” Mr Justice Wanki said.

In Mr Kakoma’s case, Mr Justice Wanki said the respondent’s decision to donate a public pay-phone to Likungu Basic School in August 2011 amounted to an illegal activity.

Mr Justice Wanki said the High Court also misdirected itself when it held that it could not nullify the election because the diversion of hammer mills from Mwanse to Chinyingi did not influence the majority voters in the area.

Meanwhile, the MMD and PF agreed in a meeting held yesterday that there would be no overt canvassing for votes in the forthcoming by-election in Mansa Central.

Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) public relations manager Cris Akufuna said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday that the political parties also pledged to abide by the Electoral Code of Conduct.

“ECZ wishes to congratulate the PF and MMD for reaching consensus during a mediation session conducted by the National Conflict Management Committee following a formal complaint by the MMD about premature campaigns in the area for polls scheduled for November 22, this year,” he said.