17th January 2024
THE Southern African Network Against Corruption (SANAC) has called on the Government to immediately facilitate for urgent Constitutional reforms to address some lacunas that are negatively impacting the Governance of the country.
In a statement today, SANAC Executive Director Gregory Chifire expressed concern with the Article 52(6) of the constitution which he said it has the potential to cause an electoral crisis as has been witnessed in recent by elections.
Mr. Chifire said Article 52(6) of the Constitution of Zambia provides for the cancelation of an election by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on account of the resignation of a candidate.
“For the avoidance of doubt Article 52(6) reads, “Where a candidate dies, resigns or becomes disqualified in accordance with Article 70, 100 or 153 or a court disqualifies a candidate for corruption or malpractice, after the close of nominations and before the election date, the Electoral Commission shall Cancel the election and require the filing of fresh nominations by eligible candidates and elections shall be held within thirty days of the filing of the fresh nominations” Mr. Chifire said
Mr. Chifire further stated that the architects of the Constitution made this provision for purposes of enhancing democracy, affirming that the provision is clearly also susceptible to abuse by political players, thereby subjecting the electoral system to uncertainty.
“Uncertainty in the electoral system in any Country does not only lower the integrity of an election outcome as it discourages the electorate to exercise their right to participate in voting, but can also leads to regimes to perpetuate their hold on to power beyond the constitutionally provided term, hence undermining the tenets of democracy.”
“What has happened in Kayo ward in Mwansabombwe where the ECZ has postponed the by election due to the resignation of the candidate for the Citizens First party, and the soon to be announced postponement of the other two elections in Kapamba and Mayembe Wards in Mpika and Shiwang’andu Districts respectively due to the resignation of candidates, goes to show how much political players can take advantage of this provision to manipulate the electoral system. “
“As a country, we must come to terms with reality. If the political parties can engineer postponed of elections at a ward level, what would stop them from doing so at Presidential level?” Mr. Chifire stated
And Mr. Chifire further called on the Government to immediately consider, through the Minister of Justice to facilitating for the review of this provision.
“In the event that the Government, is not taking heed to this call, as an organisation, we shall commence an action in the Constitutional Court seeking an interpretation of Article 52 (6). “Mr. Chifire said