THE Electoral Commission of Zambia says it will follow the due process of the law over the Roan Constituency seat that was declared vacant last week.
Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini declared the Roan seat vacant following Chishimba Kambwili’s “crossing of the floor” from PF to the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
After NDC secretary general Menya Musenge purported to expel him the party, Kambwili, who held the seat under PF, said he was NDC and that NDC is him, prompting the Speaker to conclude that the lawmaker had crossed the floor.
The ECZ subsequently announced that elections in Roan and Bahati constiuencies would be held on April 11.
Kambwili last week asked the Constitutional Court to declare the Speaker’s ruling null and void.
Asked for comment on the development, ECZ head public relations Margaret Chimanse said the commission has not been served.
“We have not been served with any process. We shall follow due process of the law,” responded Chimanse.
Meanwhile, governance and electoral activist MacDonald Chipenzi says Kambwili’s decision to go to court puts the election in Roan in alimbo.
The Governance, Elections, Advocacy, Research Services (GEARS) Initiative executive director has indicated that Kambwili was within his constitutional rights to challenge the Speaker’s decision especially that it was done without proof from the Registrar of Societies indicating that the lawmaker was actually a National Democratic Congress office bearer.
“Further, constitutionally, the only body mandated to nullify a seat of an elected member of parliament is the court and not the Speaker of the National Assembly,” Chipenzi said.
“Like instructed in Article 73(1) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act #2 of 2016, ‘a person may file an election petition with the High Court to challenge the election of a Member of Parliament.’ This provision above is also amplified in the Electoral process Act No 35 of 2016 which points to the fact that any question on an elected member shall be through the Court. In addition, the Constitution guides in Subarticle 3 of Article 73 that ‘a person may appeal against the decision of the High Court to the Constitutional Court’,” he said.
“Once the seat is petitioned and appealed, subarticle 4 of Article 73 stresses that ‘a Member of Parliament whose election is petitioned shall hold the seat in the National Assembly pending the determination of the election petition’. Therefore, the Speaker’s decision is not final and his role does not involve declaring seats of members of the National Assembly vacant but only the Courts are mandated to do so.”