THE Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has urged the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) not to be intimated but to continue announcing general election results.
And LAZ has noted that electoral disputes and grievances can only be resolved by the courts after election results are announced and winners declared by ECZ, not before.
Commenting on President Edgar Lungu‘s remarks in which he lamented that Thursday’s elections were not free and fair and that ECZ had continued announcing results despite the complaint during a briefing, Saturday, LAZ president Abyudi James Shonga said the association was concerned by the said sentiments.
“The Law Association of Zambia is immensely perturbed by sentiments by His Excellency the Republican President, who is also a Presidential candidate in the 2021 Presidential election, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, calling the elections in Western, Southern and North Western Provinces, a nullity. Though candidates have a constitutional right to be aggrieved with the electoral processes, our laws provide for mechanisms to address any such grievances,” Shonga said.
“According to the Constitution of Zambia, electoral disputes and grievances can only be resolved by the courts of Zambia, after, and not before election results are announced and winners declared by the body mandated to do so, which is the Electoral Commission (ECZ). In respect of presidential elections, article 101(4) of the Constitution specifically provides that the body mandated to settle disputes a nullify elections is only the Constitutional Court, which can only be petitioned within seven days of a winner of the Presidential election results and not before. Therefore, sentiments impugning the elections by anyone other than the courts of law are most unfortunate and have a danger of undermining democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law in the conduct of general elections in the country.”
Shonga said suggestions that ECZ should be ordered to stop announcing election results and declaring a winner on account of one party being unhappy were not in tandem with the law governing elections.
“Suggestions that the ECZ can be ordered to stop announcing election results and declaring a winner on account of one party being unhappy, whether or not the complaint is justified, are not in tandem with the law governing elections. LAZ, therefore reiterates its call on political players, including His excellency the Republican President, who is equally bound by the constitutional provisions according to article 1(3) thereof, to give ECZ a chance to discharge its mandate without fear or intimidation. The electoral process must be protected in order for the election to be legitimate,” said Shonga.
“This is the only sure way we can, as a country, continue to entrench democracy and Constitutionalism in our nation, which forms our national values and principles as provided under Article 8 of the Constitution of Zambia. In order for the will of the people to prevail, the sanctity of the election must be protected.”