By Memory Nyambe
The Electoral Commission of Zambia-ECZ-has cancelled the Kabwata Parliamentary by election which was set for January 20th, 2022.
This follows the resignation of Untied Progressive People-UPP-candidate, Francis Libanda.
ECZ Chief Electoral Officer, Patrick Nshindano has made the announcement at a media briefing.
He says the cancellation follows the receipt of another letter from Mr. Libanda dated 10th January 2022, clarifying his decision to resign whilst invoking the provision of Article 52 of the Republican Constitution which provides that:
“(6) Where a candidate dies, resigns or becomes disqualified in accordance with Article 70, 100 or 153 or a court disqualifies a candidate for corruption or malpractice, after the close of nominations and before the election date, the Electoral Commission shall cancel the election and require the filing of fresh nominations by eligible candidates and elections shall be held within thirty days of the filing of the fresh nominations.”
Mr. Nshindano explains that based on the initial correspondence of 7th January 2022, the by-election would have proceeded as planned as provided for by the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016, Section 31 (2) which empowers the Commission to reject a withdrawal and proceed with the election.
He adds that where a candidate has sought to invoke the provisions of Article 52(6) of the Republican Constitution, the law requires the cancellation of elections and this calls for fresh nominations for eligible candidates.
Mr. Nshindano says owing to the above constitutional provisions, the Commission is bound to comply without any discretion to do otherwise and dates for fresh nominations will be advised once statutory instrument is finalized.
He has clarified that polls for Sokontwe and Liangati ward by elections will proceed as scheduled on the 20th January, 2022.