THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has argued that there is no provision under the current Constitution which subjects declared assets of presidential candidates to public inspection, as was the case in the 1996 Constitution.
This is a matter in which Patriots for Economic Progress leader Sean Tembo petitioned the Constitutional Court over the ECZ’s failure to publish assets declared by President Hakainde Hichilema when he filed nominations prior to the August 12 polls.
Tembo cited ECZ and the Attorney General as first and second respondents in the matter respectively.
But in their answer, ECZ argued that they were guided by relevant Electoral laws including the Constitution of Zambia, the Electoral Process Act number 35 of 2016, the Electoral Commission of Zambia Act number 25 of 2016 and the Regulations promulgated under the said laws.
The Commission submitted that there was no Constitutional provision that compelled it to publish the declared assets and liabilities of presidential candidates.
“The first respondent (ECZ) will aver that under the 1996 Constitution, there was a specific provision under Article 34(5)(b) which expressly subjected declared assets to public inspection. The first respondent will further aver that currently, there is no such provision in the Constitution of Zambia (Amended) Act number 2 of 2016,” the answer read.
The Commission stated that Article 52(3) of the Constitution of Zambia, section 30(1)(c) of the Electoral Process Act number 35 of 2016 and Regulation 11(6) and 20(2) of the Electoral Process General Regulations, 2016 relied upon by Tembo do not require it to publish presidential candidates’ assets and liabilities as alleged at all.
ECZ stated that the commission had not breached any provision of the constitution as alleged and argued that Tembo was not entitled to the reliefs prayed for in the petition.
The commission prayed that the petition be dismissed with costs
In this matter, Tembo is seeking a declaration that the failure by ECZ to publish the statutory declaration of assets and liabilities for the Head of State in the August elections contravenes the constitution and is illegal.
He is further seeking a declaration that ECZ discloses the assets declared by President Hichilema when filing in his nomination papers.