The Constitutional Court has dismissed NDC Secretary General Mwenya Musenge’s election petition appeal for lack of merit.
The Court has since upheld Kitwe High Court’s judgement and declared Mwila Mutale as duly elected member of parliament for Chimwemwe constituency.
In this matter, Musenge appealed to the Constitutional Court against the Kitwe High Court’s decision dated November 23, 2016, in which it held that the election of Mutale as Chimwemwe Constituency member of parliament, was valid.
Mutale stood as an independent candidate and polled 14,695 votes while Musenge, who stood on the PF ticket, polled 9,111 votes.
Dissatisfied with the results, Musenge appealed the election results, seeking a declaration that Mutale was not duly elected, that his election was null and void and that, his seat should be declared vacant.
He alleged that Mutale was not qualified for election as an MP under Article 51 (a) of the Constitution as amended, because he was at nomination and election time, a PF member who had a position of Constituency Chairperson and that although he had tendered in his resignation letter, he pledged to campaign for the PF Presidential candidate and its councilors in the Constituency, which he did.
Musenge had further alleged electoral malpractices and accused the Electoral Commission of Zambia of allowing Mutale to contest the elections despite receiving complaints against him.
However, Mutale had denied the allegations and stated that he was not a member of PF at the time of the the elections.
In its judgement, the Kitwe High Court ruled in favour of Mutale and declared him duly elected member of parliament.
But Musenge consequently appealed to the Constitutional Court.
However, in their ruling, Constitutional Court judges found that there was no convincing evidence to support the assertion that the election malpractices by Mutale and his agents were widespread and that the majority of the electorates might have been prevented from voting for a candidate of their choice.
“We find that grounds one, two, three and four have no merit and therefore, the entire appeal fails and we dismiss it,” said justice Palan Mulonda who delivered the judgment on behalf of Constitutional Court President Hilda Chibomba and Judges Annie Sitali, Mungeni Mulenga and Enoch Mulembe.
He said Musenge needed to have adduced cogent evidence to show the effect of proved malpractices on the electorates.
Justice Mulonda further said the evidence on record did not in the view of the court, satisfy the standard of proof set for election petition.
“We therefore agree with the trial judge’s findings as regards the proved act of character assassination, that it had not been proved to a high degree of convincing clarity so that it could be sufficiently concluded that the voters were or may have been prevented from voting for their preferred candidate” said Justice Mulonda said.