By Nation Reporter
FOUR opposition political parties have disputed the Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ)’s move to disqualify anyone without a Grade 12 certificate from participating in this year’s election even if they have a tertiary qualification.
They said instead that the constitutional provisions on the matter could be addressed better by the Constitutional Court.
The four political parties are Zambia Republican Party (ZRP), National Revolution Party (NRP), People’s Party (PP) and the Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM).
ZRP president Wright Musoma told the Daily Nation yesterday that the ECZ’s move was prohibitive and would only worsen the already compounded problem of candidate identification by political parties participating in this year’s election.
NRP president Cosmo Mumba blamed the current problems on Members of Parliament who were allegedly “sleeping’’ when the constitutional making process was going on.
And PP president Mike Mulongoti said the move by the ECZ to take a fixed stance on the matter showed that they did not understand the legal implication of minimum qualification and the Grade 12’s equivalent.
Mr. Mulongoti said the Constitutional Court would be in a better position to clarify the point and not the ECZ, adding that Zambians did not have time to start taking straight-forward issues to court before the elections.
Meanwhile PF has advised Higher Education Minister Michael Kaingu to stop misinforming Zambians that aspiring candidates who did not meet the constitutional requirement of a Grade 12 certificate will be eligible to contest their respective elective positions for as long as they possessed a diploma or a degree from a recognized college or university.
And the Zambia Youths Association in the Fight Against Corruption (ZYAFAC) says it is concerned with the deliberate manner in which Dr Kaingu had continued to mislead Zambians that aspiring candidates without Grade 12 certificate were eligible to contest elections if they possessed a diploma or degree when the constitutional provision was clear on the matter.
PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri said it seemed Dr Kaingu was inertly intimidating the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to bend its current constitutional position that only candidates who meet the Grade 12 certificate constitutional requirement were eligible to participate in the general elections.
Mrs Phiri has appealed to Dr Kaingu to stop commenting on the Grade 12 certificate clause and wait for the Constitutional Court to make an interpretation on the matter without any form of prejudice.
Mrs Mumbi said it was not correct for Dr Kaingu to insinuate that the ECZ was reconsidering bending the Grade 12 certificate constitutional provision.
She said ECZ chairman Justice Essau Chulu had already given guidance on the Grade 12 certificate clause and that Dr Kaingu had created an impression that he was bulldozing the Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ) to accept any other qualification outside the provision of the Constitution.
Dr Kaingu yesterday criticized the Examination Council of Zambia claiming that the institution was wrong in its interpretation of the Grade 12 certificate or its equivalent as a qualification to contest elective positions in the August general elections.
Dr Kaingu is appealing to the Electoral Commission of Zambia not to limit the qualification to minimum requirements but should instead consider maximum qualification which would include college diplomas and university qualification.