The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has said it is concerned by remarks made by President Edgar Lungu that elections in some provinces were a nullity.
The lawyers said only courts of law have the power to nullify elections. They speak after Lungu who is also a presidential candidate on Saturday declared that due to violence witnessed in some provinces, the 12 August 2021 election was not free and fair hence a nullity.
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This is happening when opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has taken an early lead in the presidential election. Pindula News presents LAZ’s statement.
ONLY THE COURTS OF LAW, UPON BEING PETITIONED, HAVE POWER TO NULLIFY ELECTION RESULTS
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 Changwa 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 process, our laws provide for mechanisms to address any such grievances. According to the Constitution of Zambia, electoral disputes and grievances can only be resolved by the courts of law, after, and not before, election results are announced and winners declared by the body mandated to do so, which is the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).
In respect of presidential elections, Article 101(4) of the Constitution specifically provides that the body mandated to settle disputes and nullify elections is only the Constitutional Court, which can only be petitioned within 7 days of a declaration 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.
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.
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 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.
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