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Activist vows to protect democracy, stop alteration of law

THE Centre for Constitutionalism and Legal Justice (CCLJ) says it will oppose UPND attempts to remove Section 97(2) from the electoral law, to make it easy to nullify parliamentary and local government seats which have been challenged.

Centre Director Isaac Mwanza said he will ask the Constitutional Court to join him in a matter where UPND want to remove an election law that makes it difficult to nullify seats.

“We are joining the matter to protect democracy and ensure that it thrives whilst ensuring that there is free and fair elections and the constitution is respected as well,” he said.

He said he wants to protect democracy and save the country from spending huge sums of money on unnecessary by-elections, the resources which could otherwise be used for development.

Mr Mwanza said democracy should be protected and that those championing for the removal of Section 97(2) from the electoral law, will not be allowed to mutilate the constitution.

He said the law has moved over a period of time, explaining that before 2016, the electoral law of 2005, allowed elections to be nullified as quickly as possible which caused distraction on the country’s democracy.

Mr Mwanza said the country does not want to go back to that situation that had a drain on the country’s resources through by-elections.
He also said it’s a known fact that Zambians have been complaining about huge sums of money spent on by-elections.

Mr Mwanza said if the country is going to change the law, it will mean going back to the path where resources were spent on unnecessary by-elections.

He said already government has been complaining that there is no money in the coffers and if the country is serious on rebuilding the economy, why should one suggest that the country should be spending money on expensive by-elections.

The UPND has asked the Constitutional Court to remove Section 97(2) from the electoral law, in a move that will see the courts easily nullify parliamentary and local government seats which have been challenged.

Section 97(2)(a) requires a higher standard of proof in election petitions for the courts to nullify elections and the petitioner is required to show that the candidate and his agents were involved in some malpractice and the majority of voters were prevented from voting for a candidate of their choice.

The UPND, which petitioned all parliamentary seats won by the PF and independents and over 400 local government seats have suffered defeats in many of these petitions as the petitioners failed to satisfy the provisions of Article 97(2)(a).

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