The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) says according to the law, a councillor has a window of 30 days to rescind their decision to resign.

But Nshindano says UPND Munyambula Ward councilor in Mufumbwe District, Steven Nshimba, has not yet communicated to the Commission his decision to rescind his choice of resigning and defecting to the ruling party.

Last week, PF North-Western Province chairperson Jackson Kungo challenged the UPND to provide a law that allowed councillors to rescind their decision once they resigned.

He argued that there was no law that allowed a former councillor to reverse their decision.

But in an interview, ECZ chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano explained that a councillor had a maximum of 30 days within which to rescind his decision to resign, according to the Constitution.

“No, the candidate still remains a valid candidate; the law does provide a 30-day notification. Therefore, it is within their right to be able to rescind the decision within that (time frame). It is the same way of an employee to put in a notice on resignation within that period that is considered that you should not go away. So, there is a notice period of 30 days, which has to come to us. We were written to inform us on the resignation and we are working for the 30-days to be able to expire,” said Nshindano.

“So, now, that the gentleman has rescinded, we expect also to receive official communication of that rescindment. Because on the file that we have, it is resignation and not the rescindment despite us hearing that in media and so on. The official communication of the rescinding of the decision has not reached us. But to note that he is still considered as a valid councillor after this point until the 30-day notice elapsed as guided by the Constitution.”

Among the provisions relating to the office of councillors, the Constitution provides that: (1) A councillor shall vacate office on dissolution of a council.

(2) The office of councillor becomes vacant if: – (a) the councillor ceases to be a resident of the district; (b) the councillor resigns by one month’s notice, in writing, to the mayor or council chairperson; (c) the councillor becomes disqualified for election under Article 153; (d) the result of an election for that councillor is nullified by a local government elections tribunal established in accordance with Article 159; (e) the councillor acts contrary to the code of ethics provided for in Article 155; (f) the councillor has a mental or physical disability that makes the councillor incapable of performing the functions of councillor; or (g) the councillor dies.

(3) Where a councillor resigns in accordance with clause (2) (b), (c), (d) and (e) the councillor shall not be eligible for re-election as councillor for the duration of the term of that councillor.