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ZNBC MUST AIR UPND ADVERTS, ORDERS COURT

By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA

THE Ndola High Court has entered consent judgement compelling the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to ensure that UPND and other political parties’ paid-for campaign adverts are aired on ZNBC.

UPND has agreed with ECZ and the State that consent judgement be entered in a matter where the party sought judicial review to compel the Commission to prescribe airtime to all contesting political parties on public television or radio.

This relates to the campaign period leading up to the August 12 general elections. UPND had cited ECZ and the Attorney General Likando Kalaluka as respondents.

According to the consent judgement signed by Judge Mary Mulanda on Wednesday, ECZ is expected to prescribe the amount of airtime on or before June 30, this year.

“That the first respondent shall implement the provision of paragraph 8 (20) of the Electoral Code of Conduct contained in the schedule promulgated under the Electoral Process Act no.35 of 2016 by prescribing the amount of airtime to be allocated to contesting political parties or candidates on public television or radio for purposes of ensuring fair coverage,” read the consent judgement.

And in a letter dated June 24, 2021, addressed to Mr Kalaluka and ECZ, UPND Secretary General Batuke Imenda said ZNBC must also allocate the same number of paid-for advertisements, subject to terms and conditions, to all contesting political parties and not just air adverts of one preferred political party.

“As this election is not for the party with the deepest pocket capable of buying out all the commercial time, but for the competition of ideas to take the country forward and solve its many social, economic and political problems,” he said.

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