The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) says elections for the Kafue council chairmanship were not included on the February 12, 2019, by-elections schedule because it has not been more than 30 days since its occupant resigned.

ECZ public relations manager Margaret Chimanse explained in a statement that the Commission could only consider an office of a councillor or any other elective position as vacant after the required notice period of 30 days, as per the Zambian constitution, elapses.

“The procedure for conducting of By-elections for Councillors or Mayors (or Council Chairpersons) is governed by Part XI of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016. Article 157 (2) (b) of the Constitution provides that the office of Councillor becomes vacant where: “the councillor resigns by one month’s notice, in writing, to the mayor or council chairperson.” In line with this provision it is a requirement of the law that the effective date of the resignation notice is thirty (30) days after giving the written notice. The Electoral Commission of Zambia can only therefore consider an office of Councillor as vacant after the required notice period of thirty (30) days,” stated Chimanse.

“The public is therefore informed that despite the reported number of councilors having had resigned in the last one (1) month, the effective date of resignations do not qualify to hold these by-elections at the same time as the Sesheke Parliamentary and seven (7) Ward By- Elections scheduled for 12 February 2019. Proceeding otherwise would be contrary to the spirit of the Constitution. The Commission therefore wishes to assure the general public that as an electoral management body created under the Constitution, it will duly uphold the rule of law. The Commission further looks forward to the continued enhancement of the electoral process through mutual accountability and responsibility by all stakeholders.”

Chimanse was responding to UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka, who had earlier last week raised eyebrows after noticing that the Commission had omitted the Kafue council Chairmanship from the list of next round of by-elections.