By SIMON MUNTEMBA
THE new UPND government should consider establishing special election tribunals to deal with electoral disputes like is the case at Local Government level to reduce on costs emanating from by-elections, Lusaka-based lawyer Dickson Jere has said. He said this would facilitate quick dispensation of justice. Mr Jere said much as some stakeholders were concerned with the high number of electoral petitions, the law demands that the aggrieved parties must be heard.
Mr Jere, who is former Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations under the Rupiah Banda administration, said in an interview that Zambia should come up with special elections tribunals to deal with election petitions. His remarks comes after about 83 parliamentary election petitions were filed in the High Court following the August 12 general elections.
Mr Jere predicted that the number of potions would slightly go down after consolidation of some petitions but still remained high. “This means our court system will be clogged – for 90 days – and Judges will have to prioritise these petitions at the expense of other cases.
Maybe, in future, we should consider establishing Special Elections Tribunals like is the case at Local Government level,” he said. Mr Jere however said that the election petitions were constitutional and every candidate had the right to petition if not happy with the results regardless of the vote difference. “We can only talk about irregularities after the 90 days period and see what the courts will say.
High number of petitions does not necessarily mean irregularities until the evidence is presented to court. So let’s wait and see especially that some of the petitions are against the independents,” he said.