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PF TO LOSE SEATS?

By NATION REPORTER 

THE Patriotic Front risks the danger of losing all the 60 petitioned parliamentary seats if the Consti-tutional Court allows the lowering of the standard of proof in an election petition as requested by the UPND and supported by the Attorney General.

A petition by the UPND, supported by the Attorney General has proposed that section 97 (2) (a) of the Electoral Process Act no.35 of 2016 be removed from the constitution as it makes it difficult to nullify an election characterised by malpractice. 

But Constitutionalism and Legal activist, Isaac Mwanza has opposed that this would have far reaching con-sequences on outcomes.

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 applica-tion for joinder as the intended party has shown sufficient reason why he must be joined to these proceedings,” the application reads.

When the matter came up yesterday, Mr Mwanza argued that the Court should join him based on the legal duty every citizen has to defend the Constitution especially that the case was commenced on the pretext of de-fense of the Constitution by the Petitioner.

He cited the case in which the Court joined Lewis Mosho as an interested party to a matter   commenced by Mr Sangwa in which the case stated that it was sufficient to join a person as interested party based on the legal duty to defend the Constitution.

In that case, the Court had also noted that the petitioner had commenced the case based on defence of the Constitution. 

Mr Mwanza also informed the Court that the matter was properly before the Court as it was filed based on Order V Rule 6(1) of the Constitutional Court rules.  

Mr Mwanza said precedent before the Court was that the application for leave and order to join has always been granted in single proceedings.

Both the Attorney General and the Petitioner opposed the application to join based on the fact that sufficient interest was not demonstrated. The Attorney General stated that they are capable of defending the matter be-fore Court.

However, perusal of the records before the Court are that the Attorney General has simply agreed with the Petitioner in an attempt to expunge from the statute of Section 97(2) of the Constitution.

The court deferred the matter to a later date.

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 as it aids corrupt practices while protecting undemocratically elected public officers.

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