Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general Wynter Kabimba has been accused of having exerted pressure on the Supreme Court to instruct the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to block three opposition candidates from participating in the September 5th parliamentary by-elections.
The accusations have been made by Heritage Party (HP) president Godfrey Miyanda who has said that the ECZ as an autonomous body was not supposed to be badgered by overzealous political party cadres.
Gen Miyanda has challenged Mr Kabimba to state which process he employed to move the Supreme Court to take such an action on the eve of nominations when all the participating groups were in various parts of the country to support their candidates.
Gen Miyanda wondered where the Supreme Court had been since the controversy started almost two weeks ago adding he could not be faulted for concluding that the highest Court had succumbed to Mr Kabimba’s dictates.
The HP leader contended that the issue of whether the Supreme Court should never submit a report should have been argued in court by all the parties concerned stating that this was because the action of the Judiciary at the late hour amounted to directing the ECZ what to do.
He said that arising from the instruction from the Judiciary; the ECZ had announced that it would not accept the nominations of the named three former MPs.
“The announcement by the ECZ that they have received a formal notification from the Supreme Court to prevent three named citizens from participating in an election still does not answer previous questions raised.
“In one of today’s (yesterday) Government media news report there is a screaming and almost celebrating headline that “Dora, others barred”, as if to confirm that this is really what the fuss is all about. Because of the immediate circumstances surrounding this saga I do not believe that the Court moved itself to act at the eleventh hour; unless proved otherwise I believe that they were moved by the PF Secretary General who happens to be the Minister of Justice,” Gen Miyanda said.
Gen Miyanda explained that the submission of the report was a constitutional safeguard because the standard of proof in an election petition could not be as stringent or as high as was in a criminal prosecution.
He observed that the rights of the three named citizens were affected and hence due process should have been followed without vindictiveness and urged the aggrieved parties to challenge matter as a class action.