Electoral violence nullifies Luo

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 09:31:32 +0000

RAMPANT violence and lack of transparency in the manner the Munali constituency election was conducted has resulted in the nullification of Higher Education minister Nkandu Luo as Member of Parliament. Ndola High Court judge Edward Musona, sitting in the Lusaka High Court,  nullified the Munali seat on the basis that the Electoral Commission of Zambia failed to conduct free and transparent elections in Munali due to lack of essential processes. Mr Justice Musona said the commission did not conduct itself in the manner expected of an elections’ director by, among other omissions, failing to provide Form Gen 12 at 12 polling stations – documents necessary for recording results.  The judge said there was clear evidence of violence and accused Zambia Police of failing to uphold peace during the campaigns leading to the August 11 elections which deterred voters from turning up in large numbers on the polling day. Judge Musona said that

evidence of violence against the petitioner and her agents were overwhelming in the constituency. He said there were ‘‘merciless attacks’’ in full view of police officers, an indication that the violence was sponsored as cadres had no remorse as evidenced by the brutal attacks.  “The illegal and unfair practices cited affected the outcome of the parliamentary results as it affected the majority from voting for their preferred candidate; I now declare that the election of the respondent is nullified,” he said. This was in a matter in which UPND losing candidate Doreen Mwamba petitioned the High Court on the re-election of Prof Luo in the August general election.  Mr Justice Musona said the violence that characterized the constituency which was engineered by the ruling party outweighed that perpetrated by the UPND, and castigated police for failing to protect citizens who were being attacked by both parties’ cadres. In some instances the names of perpetrators were known but to date none has been brought to book.  He said the use of “Boma ni Boma” slogan intimidated and disadvantaged the opposition from selling their manifesto to the masses. Prof Luo was also found guilty of abuse of authority when she campaigned while she performed duties as Gender minister until the Constitutional Court ruled against their continued stay in office. Prof Luo has since indicated that she would appeal the judgment to the Constitutional Court

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