By DELPHINE ZULU-
OPPOSITION political parties have welcomed the Supreme Court judgment allowing members of Parliament whose seats were nullified to re-contest.
Both MMD and the United Party for National Development (UPND) said the outcome of the judgment was impressive and could not be re-emphasised especially that there was perceived political turmoil between them and the ruling party.
They have since urged the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to immediately set polling dates in the affected constituencies in order for the country to start focusing on other important national issues.
UPND Secretary General Winston Chibwe said in an interview that development had stalled in all the constituencies which were being challenged due to the motions by the losing candidates at the expense of electorates needs.
Mr Chibwe said the outcome was an indication that there was consistency in the judiciary because the judgment was clear and well handled.
“The outcome of the judgment has put everything to rest, people in the affected areas had been expecting development in their areas but delayed because of the said motions, what we want to see now is dates set so that the electorate can vote for their preferred candidate and start working,” Mr Chibwe said.
The five affected constituencies included Zambezi East, held by UPND’s Charles Kakoma, Kasenengwa (Victoria Kalima), Solwezi Central (Lucky Mulusa),Vubwi (Eustarkio Kasonga), and Mkushi South ( Sydney Chisanga) all from MMD.
This was after losing PF candidates petitioned the victory of the five and later asked the Supreme Court to determine whether or not the five were eligible to re-contest the seats having been found guilty of corruption.
MMD’s deputy national secretary Chembe Nyangu said the judgment would help restore the confidence that the citizens had lost which saw a number of opposition seats being nullified and forced the majority to conclude that the judiciary was not independent.
“I mean who would not be impressed with such an educative and clear judgment we have all learnt something from this and shows that the judiciary is independent, this judgment will help unite the opposition and the ruling party,” Mr Nyangu said.
ECZ Chairperson Irene Mambilima last week said the commission would proceed to set the date for nominations and election following the ruling of the Supreme Court.
Ms Justice Mambilima said opposition members of parliament whose seats were nullified were free to re-contest their seats.
Supreme Court judge Marvin Mwanamwambwa led the bench of six other judges on Thursday that dismissed an application by PF lawyer Bonaventure Mutale that was seeking to bar the five from re-contesting saying the motion was misconceived and lacked merit.
The Supreme Court was yet to deliver a similar judgment involving the other three constituencies, Malambo, Mulobezi and Petauke until the determination of the matter pertaining to the eligibility of the former candidates, Maxwell Mwale, Hastings Sililo and Dora Siliya all from the MMD.