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SANGWA’S PETITION TOSSED OUT

By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA

LAWYER John Sangwa yesterday walked out of the Supreme Court a gloomy man after the Constitutional Court dismissed his petition where he wanted it to direct the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to amend the affidavit for Presidential candidates/Running mates to state the number of years one has served.

Mr Sangwa wanted the affidavit to include a paragraph saying “I have not twice held office as President” for it to comply with article 106 (3).

ECZ and the Attorney General Likando Kalaluka were cited as respondents while lawyer Lewis Mosho joined as an interested party.

After three hours of deliberations yesterday, the ConCourt full bench of Judges which included its president Hilda Chibomba dismissed the petition for lack of merit.

Judge Martin Musaluke delivering the abridged ruling on behalf of the bench said the court had considered all the documents filed by Mr Sangwa, the State, ECZ and Mr Mosho.

“We have considered the petition lacks merit and is dismissed fourth with with costs,” the court ruled.

The court said it would state the reasons for dismissal of the petition in a full judgement which it will give on May 27, 2021.

Solicitor General Abraham Mwansa argued that the affidavit clearly satisfied the conditions required for a Presidential candidate.

Mr Mwansa said the requirement should not have to be extended to article 106(3) of the constitution as the article deals with the tenure of office of President.

The State reiterated that Mr Sangwa should have challenge the SI 14 days after its publication in the Gazette as required by law.

“This is a challenge that has come too late in the day as article 67(3) of the constitution permits time on which a challenge ought to be mounted. Mounting a challenge at this late hour will equally be a violation of the constitution as the court will be delving in the legislative realm,” Mr Mwansa argued.

The State submitted that the court dismissed the petition as it was devoid of merit.

ECZ through their counsel Mr Bob Musenga urged the court to dismiss the petition as it was out of time and that the affidavit conforms to the requirements of Article 100 of the constitution which relates to the qualifications and disqualifications of Presidential candidates.

But Mr Sangwa insisted that the allegation was that of omission which violates article 52 (1) and article 106(3).

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