UPND, NDC sue ECZ, PF demanding postponement of Chilubi poll

UPND and NDC have dragged the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and PF secretary general Davies Mwila to the Lusaka High Court, seeking an order of interim injunction to restrain the commission from permitting the holding of the Chilubi by-election this Thursday.

Steven Katuka, suing in his capacity as UPND secretary general, and Bridget Atanga suing in her capacity as NDC secretary general, have cited ECZ and Mwila as first and second respondents, respectively.

The two are seeking an order of mandatory injunction directing the ECZ to postpone the Chilubi by-election pursuant to Section 57 of the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016 such that the poll should instead take place on February 20, 2020.

Katuka and Atanga further want an order directing ECZ to disqualify the Patriotic Front from further participation in the by-election and an order directing the ECZ to extend the campaign period such that it will end on February 19, 2020 at 18:00 hours instead of February 12, 2020 at 18:00 hours as earlier scheduled.

The two also want an order directing the ECZ to ensure that the Zambia Police conducts itself professionally and allows all parties to campaign freely without hindrance within the law and an order directing ECZ to summon ZNBC so as to allow equal media coverage to all political parties participating in the Chilubi by-election.

Katuka and Atanga have also put forward some questions for the courts determination on; whether or not a party aggrieved by the conduct of an election by ECZ can compel the commission to execute its functions pursuant to the provisions of the law that place a duty on ECZ to conduct free and fair elections and, in the event that the ECZ blatantly violates or breaches its statutory duty prior to the poll being undertaken, whether or not an aggrieved party can seek relief from the court so as to secure a free and fair election.

They have further asked whether or not ECZ can be compelled to: postpone the Chilubi by-elections from being held on February 13, in circumstances where the Court finds that there has been a clear violation of the relevant provisions of the law governing the conduct of elections and takes the view that a free and fair election cannot be held in those circumstances.

And further, to disqualify the PF from participating further in the Chilubi by-election in view of the serious breaches of the Electoral code of conduct attributable to its members, supporters and leaders, among other questions.

This is according to originating summons and ex-parte summons for an order of interim injunction filed in the Lusaka High Court principal registry, Tuesday, by their lawyers from Malambo and Company and Messrs CL Mundia and Company.

And in an affidavit in support of originating summons and in support of summons for an order of interim injunction, Atanga and Katuka stated that from the outset, the said by-election has been merred by electoral malpractice by the PF which has done everything to ensure that the environment in which the by election has been conducted is favourable to its candidate.

They added that this has been made possible by the fact that PF is the ruling party and is therefore able to control state resources to its advantages.




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