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PF PONDERS JOINING CONTENTIOUS CONCOURT CASE

By NATION REPORTER


THE Patriotic Front which has 60 seats in Parliament is considering joining a petition by the UPND in the Constitutional Court which seeks to make it easy to nullify election petitions.
PF chairperson for Information and Publicity, Raphael Nakacinda said the party was pondering to join the matter to save PF seats from nullification.


UPND has petitioned the Constitutional Court to lower the standard of proof in an election petition by removing section 97 (2) (a) of the Electoral Process Act no.35 of 2016 from the constitution after realizing that it risks losing all the 60 petitioned parliamentary seats if the request is allowed.
In a petition supported by the Attorney General, UPND contends that the said law makes it difficult to nullify an election characterised by malpractice.


Constitutionalism and Legal activist, Isaac Mwanza who is perturbed that the UPND petition would have far reaching consequences on outcomes of petitions, has applied to join the matter.
Mr Nakacinda said in an interview that the former ruling party had not ruled out possibilities of joining the matter.
“Obviously with time we will also decide to join the matter. But we are happy that Mr Mwanza is joining the matter and he should be supported,” he said.
In an application for joinder submitted by Mr Mwanza, he states that the outcome of the UPND petition had a bearing on the ongoing petitions brought before the High Court where the UPND had petitioned all the 60 PF parliamentary seats.
“This is an appropriate instance for this honourable court to grant the intended interested party’s application for joinder as the intended party has shown sufficient reason why he must be joined to these proceedings,” the application reads.


In this matter, Joseph Busenga, a member of the UPND media committee seeks an order that section 97 (2) (a) of the Electoral Process Act no.35 of 2016 be removed from the statute books on the pretext that it aids corrupt practices while protecting undemocratically elected public officers.
Meanwhile, New Congress Party president Peter Chanda said a proposal to remove part of the Electoral Process Act from statute books should not be entertained as it will lead to a one-party state.
Mr Chanda warned that once the Act was removed, it would disadvantage the opposition political parties, more especially those whose Parliamentary seats were petitioned.


“We are of the view that the proposal by Mr Joseph Busenga to remove section 97(2)(a)(b) of the Electoral Process Act would lead to a creation of a one-party state. It should not be allowed,” Mr Chanda said.
He also said political parties like the Patriot Front would lose all petitioned seats if the Constitutional Court allowed the lowering of the standard of proof in an election petition as requested by the UPND.

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