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STATE OBJECTS TO LUSAMBO JOINING PETITION NULLIFICATION CASE

 By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA

THE State has urged the Constitutional Court to dismiss Mr Bowman Lusambo’s application for leave to be joined to the matter where UPND is seeking to change the standard of proof for nullifying an election.

UPND member Joseph Busenga, seeks the removal of section 97 (2) (a) of the Electoral Process Act no.35 of 2016 from the constitution as it makes it difficult to nullify an election characterised by malpractice.

Mr Busenga in his petition contends that the said section is inconsistent with article 45 which discourages acts of election malpractice and instead promotes corrupt and illegal practices.

Mr Lusambo, whose Kabushi seat was nullified by the Ndola High Court on account of violence, corruption and bribery, last week, filed an application in the Constitutional Court for leave to join the proceedings as an interested party.

But the State has opposed the application stating that Mr Lusambo is not competent to join the matter by reasons of Article 2 and 60 (2) (a) of the constitution which confers him with the duty to defend the constitution and promote its values and principles. State advocate Kaumbi Ndulo argues that Article 2 grants every person a right to defend the constitution and prevent a person from over throwing, suspending or illegally fabricating the constitution.

She states that the reference to Article 2 is misguided in the case before the Constitutional Court as there is no attempt to overthrow, suspend or illegally breach the constitution as what is in issue is an Act of Parliament and its consistency.

Ms Ndulo also contends that the reference to Article 60 (2) (a) by Mr Lusambo is misguided as the said Article refers to a political party and he has not applied in such a capacity.

“That the custodian of the laws of Zambia and protector of public interest is a respondent (AG) who has properly been sued in this matter and was highly competent to sufficiently respond to the issues raised in the current petition,” she stated.

The State has thus urged the court to dismiss Mr Lusambo’s application on grounds that he has failed to demonstrate his sufficient interest in the matter to warrant his joining to the proceedings as an interested party.

And Mr Busenga has also opposed the application as Mr Lusambo has not pointed out any specific provision of the constitution that he thinks was being abrogated in the petition.

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