ECONOMIC Freedom Fighters Party (EFF) president Kasonde Mwenda has sought leave of the Lusaka High Court to commence judicial review proceedings against the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s decision to direct that the campaign period will run from May 24 to August 11, this year, which is two weeks short of the mandated three months period.
Mwenda also wants to challenge ECZ’s roadmap target to register 9 million voters within a one month four days time frame.
The EFF leader has cited ECZ and the Attorney General as respondents, seeking a declaration that the 2021 Election Roadmap is illegal, null and void.
He also wants the court to grant him an order of certiorari, to move the High Court to quash the published electoral commission 2021 general election roadmap and compel them to prepare a new one which is rational and in line with the dictates of the Zambian law.
Mwenda further wants an order to compel ECZ to extend and immediately resume voter registration for an additional month so that the prospective voters are not disfranchesed as a result of time.
He also wants an order to compel ECZ not to discard the voters register which was used during the 2016 general election but simply update it.
Mwenda has stated that the people who did not manage to register in the just ended voter registration exercise should be allowed to vote if they appear in the 2016 voters register.
According to an affidavit verifying the facts relied on for leave to apply for judicial review filed in the Lusaka High Court, Wednesday, Mwenda stated that his party was active and participates in elections in Zambia.
He added that they have exhausted their engagement with ECZ over this matter but to no avail, and that is why they have taken the matter to court.
Mwenda explained that ECZ published a statement tabulating the 2021 general election.
He however, stated that ECZ had no legal authority under the laws of Zambia to reduce the general election campaign period from three months as contained in the Electoral Process Act to two months, two weeks (May 24 to August 11, 2021).
Mwenda stated that due to ECZ’s irregular and unlawful voters registration election roadmap for the 2021 general election, eligible voters from various sections of the society failed to register to participate in the general elections and were thus disenfranchised.
“The Electoral Commission acted irrationally when it discarded the old voter register which had been made over a period of over 10 year and instead opted to do voter registration in a month and four days in the rainy season thereby increasing the possibility of disfranchising eligible voters. Contrary to the laws of Zambia, ECZ did not follow procedure when it did that. It is on record that ECZ has not been conducting continuous voter registration since the last general election in 2016,” he stated.
And in a notice containing statement in support of ex parte application for leave to apply for judicial review, Mwenda argued that ECZ abrogated the Electoral Process Act when it directed that the campaign period would run from May 24, 2021 to August 11, 2021.
He stated that the said ascribed campaign period was two weeks short of the mandated three months period in pursuant to section 28 (3) of the Electoral Process Act, No. 35 of 2016.
Mwenda further argued that ECZ’s roadmap target to register 9 million voters within a month four days timeframe was irrational and unattainable.
“This target has failed as was confirmed with the paltry number of 7,020,749 voters registered in the just ended voter registration exercise. The registration was done in a short period of a month and four days during a rainy season when mobility is hard and people have gone to farm their fields,” stated Mwenda.