31 January 2013

Zambia: MMD Loses Two Seats

THE Supreme Court has nullified the election results of two MMD parliamentary seats in Kapiri Mposhi and Lukulu West constituencies.

Lawrence Zimba has lost the Kapiri Mposhi seat while Misheck Mutelo had his Lukulu West constituency results nullified on grounds that their elections were marred with corrupt practices and illegal activities.

Patriotic Front (PF) candidate Eddie Musonda challenged Mr Zimba's election while Eileen Imbwae, also of the PF, successfully petitioned the results in Lukulu West.

Supreme Court judge Gregory Phiri, in delivering his judgment in the Kapiri Mposhi petition, said the people in the area were prevented from voting for a candidate of their choice due to corruption, bribery and illegal practices.

"I find that there was merit in the appeal. The seat is nullified and I direct that fresh elections be held in the Kapiri Mposhi constituency," the judge said.

Mr Justice Phiri said facts before the court indicate that there was a K10 million which was distributed to women by the former first lady Thandiwe Banda with the full knowledge of Mr Zimba who in some instances was present.

The court found that the K10 million distributed was aimed at inducing women to vote for both the Presidential candidate and area Member of Parliament (MP) on the MMD ticket.

Mr Zimba was declared winner after he polled 16, 575 while Mr Musonda of the PF got 9, 519 and Robby Chungwa of the United Party for National Development (UPND) obtained 6, 654.

In the Lukulu West petition, Supreme Court judge Elizabeth Muyovwe upheld the facts of the High Court where it was stated that the elections were not free and fair.

Ms Justice Muyovwe said the Lukulu West election was characterised by corrupt and illegal practices.

Voters in the area were prevented from electing their preferred candidate due to electoral offences, intimidation and threats.

"I uphold the decision of the lower court and find that the election of Mr Mutelo was not free and fair. The seat is accordingly nullified," the judge said.

In an interview after judgment was delivered, Ms Imbwae said it was not correct to capitalise on people's illiteracy and exploit them using certain advantages.

She said leaders should ensure that they handled people with humility and respect.

"This has been a long wait for us, and we are happy that justice has been done. I am sure I will re-contest the seat," Ms Imbwae said.

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