It’s Sept 11 for by-elections

The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has set September 11, 2014 as the date for the holding of five by-elections which were without representation for almost a year after the Patriotic Front went to court to ask for court interpretation whether former members of Parliament whose seats were nullified on account of corrupt malpractices were eligible to recontest.

The parliamentary seats affected were Solwezi Central, Vubwi, Kasenengwa, Mkushi South and Zambezi West.

Electoral Commission of Zambia Public Relation Manager, Crispin Akufuna, said the setting of the date for the by-elections followed the Supreme Court’s Judgment of July 3, 2014 which allowed the former parliamentarians to recontest their seats if they so wished.

He said aspiring candidates for the by-elections should lodge their completed and attested statutory declaration and nomination papers on August 12.

Mr Akufuna  said nomination papers should be subscribed before a magistrate, Local Court Magistrate, head of a government primary or secondary school, principal of a college, Commissioner of Oath, election Officer or the returning officer on August 12 between 09:00hrs and 15:00hrs.

He said candidates from all the constituencies should take along with them nine supporters who must be dully registered voters in their constituencies.

And Mr Akufuna also announced Local Government by-elections to be held in Mkushi South, Vubwi, Kasenengwa, Solwezi Central and Zambezi West wards respectively.

Meanwhile, the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) was hopeful that there would be no other obstacles that would hinder the by-elections set by the Electoral Commission of Zambia.

FODEP executive director MacDonald Chipenzi said considering that most of the by-elections were triggered, he expected the judgement from the courts of law to be respected by the people of Zambia, especially after the events that characterized the matter, prior to the court action that had prolonged the process.

Mr Chipenzi said Zambians could not afford to continue defying the constitution when the by-elections had already been delayed.

He appealed to the judiciary to expedite the case involving three opposition Members of Parliament who were representing Malambo, Petauke central and Mulobezi, so that by-elections could take place.

“We are of the firm belief that those dissatisfied with the judgement of the courts and want to exercise their democratic rights for an appeal should do so with the full knowledge and consideration that the constitutional 90 days for holding of a by-election in an event of a vacancy had already expired and that the people of the three constituencies should not be deprived of representation in the National Assembly,” Mr Chipenzi said.