People whose elections were nullified: McDonald Chipenzi speaks on conduct of conduct, republican constitution
ALLOWING PEOPLE WHOSE ELECTIONS WERE NULLIFIED DUE TO VIOLATION OF A PRESCRIBED CODE OF CONDUCT (ELECTORAL CODE OF CONDUCT) IS INJURIOUS TO THE PURPOSE, VALUES & PRINCIPLES OF THE REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION
The ConCourt should, at the earliest opportunity, reverse this decision to make eligible individuals who have had their elections nullified creating a vacancy in the office of the MP and councillor disregarding the spirit and letter of Art 72(4) and 157(3).
The letter and spirit of Arts 72(4) and 157(3) are make such individuals ineligible to recontest their seats as a sacton or penalty for engaging in electoral corruption and this must be respected to stop further deterioration in the calibre and integrity of the election and electoral process in Zambia.
The COURT’s position seems to institutionalise and constitutionalise and sanitise corruption, violence and other malpractices and illegalities committed by the political parties and or candidates in the electoral process contrary to guidance found in Art 45 and 60.
In addition, this decision has rendered the right to petition an election of an MP (Art 73) and or councillor (157-158) invalid and without meaning but an academic exercise and wastage of resources.
This is so because an election can be nullified but the same individuals who misbehaved causing a by-election are, again, allowed to recontest and probably win back the seat.
What then could be the rationale or purpose of such an election petition resulting in a nullification and why create vacancy that causes a by-election if the same person can recontest?
The decision further makes the Code, prescribed in Art 54 of the Constitution which all political parties and or candidates must comply with, irrelevant thereby promoting lawlessness, illegalities and unfair play field in the electoral process.
Recognising the fact that the Constitutional Court decsions are non-appealable and final, however, Article 267 of the Constitution, which enjoins the courts to interpret the Constitution in a manner that promotes the development of the law, provides sufficient latitude for the ConCourt to revisit its interpretation.
Art 267 (1)(a), (b) and (c) guides that this Constitution shall be interpreted in accordance with the Bill of Rights and in a manner that-
Promotes its purposes, values and principles; permits the development of the law; and contributes to good governance
Is the court’s decision to allow people who caused a vacancy in their respective elective offices through a nullification triggered by their involvement in practices of corruption, violence, lawlessness, illegalities and lack of prerequisite academic qualifications against the requirement of the Constitution and prescribed electoral code of conduct a promotion of the purpose, values and principles of the Constitution of the Republic, Or does it permit the development of good law or indeed contributes to good governance in Zambia?
In my view and opinion, the decision of the Court negates all the above guidance hence the need for the Court to re-consider this decision for the purpose of the development of good law and practice, promotion of values, principles and purpose of the Constitution and for the purpose of contributing to good governance and fair play in electoral process and adherence to electoral integrity in Zambia.
Better still, unless it can be shown empirically that the decision of the court to all such individuals adds value to the fight against corruption, violence, forgery, malpractices and illegalities in the electoral process and in Zambia’s electoral democracy, the legislature would do well to quickly move a motion to strengthen Arts 72(4) and 157(3) diluted by the recent decision of the Court that eligiblised people who caused a vacancy in their respective offices as a result of nullification of their election due to proved widespread corruption, violence and malpractice and illegalities during campaigns and lack of prerequisite academic qualifications.
This can be done by invoking the provisions of Article 79 of the Constitution by the legislature with relative ease.
Art 79 empowers the legislature to alter any part of the Constitution except for article 79 itself and the Bill of Rights, which can only be altered with the approval of the people in a national referendum.
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