Leave us alone, Independents tell ECZ
…stop interfering with our campaigns or else
By ADRIAN MWANZA
INDEPENDENT parliamentary candidates have threatened the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) with legal action for stopping them from supporting President Edgar Lungu after resigning from the Patriotic Front.
The six who were represented by Bwana Mkubwa aspiring candidate Warren Mwambazi said they would engage their lawyers if the ECZ stopped them from campaigning and aligning themselves with their preferred presidential candidate.
Mr Mwambazi said article 20 of the Constitution said “Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, that is to say, freedom to hold opinions without interference, freedom to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to impart and communicate ideas and information without interference, whether the communication be to the public generally or to any person or class of persons, and freedom from interference with his correspondence.”
He also said that article 21 also said “Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of assembly and association, that is to say, his right to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particular to form or belong to any political party, trade union or other association for the protection of his interests” meaning the ECZ had erred.
He said the group included Munir Zulu (Lumezi), Emmanuel J Banda (Petauke Central), Zindaba Soko (Chipata), Menyani Zulu (Nyimba) and Binwell Mpundu (Nkana) who sent a representative.
The six said that they had endorsed President Edgar Lungu because his manifesto resonated with their beliefs and aspirations.
Mr Mwambazi said it was unfortunate that some people were trying to fight them using the ECZ but that they were ready to fight on even if it meant the elections were to be delayed.
“We resigned from the party as stipulated by the letter from ECZ dated July 15 so that we pursue our goal but it is shocking to note that the commission does not want us to endorse a candidate of our choice,” he said.
He said they had been counselled by learned lawyers Sakwiba Sikota and Dickson Jere who said it was okay for them to endorse a presidential candidate of their choice.
Meanwhile Mr Banda said that he was shocked that some individuals who were not even vying for any position wanted to fight them using the commission.
“We have followed the law to the letter but we are shocked that ECZ still wants to block us to support a presidential candidate of their choice which is infringing on our rights,” he said.
And Mr Soko said that they were left with no option but to engage their legal team to help them after the directive from ECZ.
He warned the people inciting ECZ to refrain from the vice because they were not breaking the law and respected its directive.
“Personally, I feel we have the right to endorse a candidate of our choice despite not belonging to that respective political party,” he said.
Mr Soko said that they had no time but that they would take the matter to court for the matter to be exhausted and if it meant the elections to be delayed they were ready.