Lundazi Central Independent member of parliament Lawrence Nyirenda who has been dragged to the Constitutional Court for allegedly not having a full a Grade 12 certificate, has asked the court to dismiss the petition with costs saying it’s in the wrong court.
And Nyirenda adds that the petitioner should have taken the matter to court within 21 days after the 2016 general elections, not more than two years later.
This is the matter in which Lundazi Central losing independent candidate Bizwayo Nkunika has petitioned the Constitutional Court to declare the parliamentary seat vacant, alleging that the current Independent member of parliament does not hold a full Grade 12 certificate.
Nkunika cited Nyirenda and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) as first and second respondents, stating that ECZ contravened article 70 and 72 of the Constitution when it allowed Nyirenda to contest the Lundazi Central seat without meeting the minimum qualifications.
He wants the court to declare the seat vacant and that ECZ should hold elections within 90 days.
However, in the skeletons arguments to raise preliminary issue, the respondents have asked the Constitutional Court to dismiss the petition.
ECZ stated that the petition should be dismissed on the basis of irregularities because the Constitution required that the challenge of nomination of a candidate was made within seven days of the close of nomination.
It added that article 73 of the Constitution further prescribed the procedure for challenging the election of a Member of Parliament and prescribed the High Court as Court of first instance and the Constitutional Court as an appellate court.
Meanwhile, Nyirenda stated that he was nominated at the same time with the petitioner, adding that Nkunuka had seven days in which to challenge his qualifications.
He added that the law was very clear in that the Constitution itself had prescribed the time frames within which such a challenge could be brought to court.
Nyirenda stated that the petition should have been lodged within 21 days of the election and must have been determined within 90 days of the said filing.
He equally asked the court to dismiss the petition with costs saying despite being filed out of time, the petition was also filed in the wrong court.