THERE shall be no recounting of votes after the presidential election results have been announced and a winner declared, Electoral Commission of Zambia chairperson Justice Irene Mambilima has said.
Justice Mambilima said there were no provisions in the country’s statutes for a recount after the Presidential result had been announced and a winner declared save through a Supreme Court order.
Justice Mambilima was responding to Martha Mushipe, a Lusaka based lawyer who demanded that the Commission should not declare any candidate a winner if there would be a dispute in the election results.
Justice Mambilima said the commission was wearing a limited legal jacket and that the law only provided that a recount could only be done at a polling station where voting took place but that once the results reached the tallying centre after verification, there would be no recount.
Justice Mambilima said if the aggrieved missed the chance of having a recount of the disputed results at the polling station, there was no further room for a recount because the law did not provide for such an action.
She stated that the commission would only conduct a recount of the results under the order of the Supreme Court through petitioning of the results.
“The issue of a recount has been discussed before and I am happy that I am talking to my fellow lawyer. It is law that a recount can only take place at a polling station where the voting takes place. If you miss to challenge the results at the polling station, there is nothing the Commission can do because there is no law that demands for a recount after the results have been announced and a winner declared. The only recourse after the results have been announced is the courts of law through a petition. It is only the Supreme Court that can order a recount,” Justice Mambilima said.
Ms Mushipe said she was asking for a recount because according to her, the Church mother bodies had conducted PVT and that there was a projection that some candidate had won the presidential election by a 5000 late margin.
She said the commission should not declare a winner until after a recount had been conducted.
And Justice Mambilima has expressed concern at the growing levels of apathy and has urged political parties to sensitize their supporters on the importance of participating in the electoral process by voting.
Justice Mambilima said the number of people voting had continued to slide over the years adding that the political parties were not doing enough to encourage voters to exercise their right.
“Political party leaders should take part in sensitizing their supporters on the importance of voting. It is the politicians who need the votes and they should encourage them to vote. The levels of apathy are worrying and the national picture is that we have only recorded an average of 35 percent voter turnout of the total registered voters,” Justice Mambilima said.