Ward Councilors Have To Resign To Contest Mayoral Election, Submits AG

Ward Councilors Have To Resign To Contest Mayoral Election, Submits AG

ATTORNEY General Likando Kalaluka has submitted before the Constitutional Court that a serving councillor ought to resign his position before contesting the mayoral elections because it is a full-time position.

In this case, Mpulungu ward 23 councillor Christopher Shakafuswa and Isaac Mwanza have petitioned the court seeking a determination on whether or not a serving ward based councillor elected to a position of a mayor ought to resign his or her seat.
Shakafuswa and Mwanza cited Kalaluka and the Electoral Commission of Zambia in this matter.
They have also asked the court to interpret if a serving councillor who wins a mayoral election ought to vacate his or her position.

The position of mayor fell vacant following the death of Wilson Kalumba.
But Kalaluka submitted that according to Article 153 and 156 of the Constitution, a ward-based councillor who was desirable of contesting a full-time mayoral seat and thus qualifies under the relevant laws and rules of procedure as provided by the Electoral Process Act to contest a full-time mayoral seat must resign his position as a part-time based councillor.
The Attorney General said Article 153 and 156 obliges ward-based councillors as in the position of Shakafuswa to be accountable to their electorate without exception.

He stated that in order to realise the intended meaning of the legislature with regard to the principle of accountability to the electorate as enshrined in Article 156 of the Constitution, an elected councillor ought to resign so that he can seek a new mandate to be elected as mayor.

Kalaluka explained that a ward-based councillor derived his or her mandate from the electorate in the district and if such a councilor, as in the position of Shakafuswa, now desired to seek different mandate from the electorate, the principle of accountability embedded in Article 156 of the Constitution entails that such a councillor must resign his current position in order to be properly subjected to the electorate for a new mandate.

He stated that the duties of the ward-based councillor and a mayor were different in that a ward-based councillor was part-time whilst a mayor was a full-time executive councillor. Kalaluka said clearly, the two sets of rules cannot operate concurrently.
The Attorney General stated that Article 157 (3) of the Constitution automatically comes into operation as regards a resignation by a ward-based councilor in the circumstance and automatically bars such a councilor from eligibility for re-election as councillor for the duration of the term of that council.