GBM puzzle


THOSE who desire the truth over Mr Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba’s qualifications should not despair as the Constitutional Court entertains petitions that seek out clarity on nomination of candidates in an election.

But it is premature to seek the Constitutional Court’s intervention now.

All those with evidence are however at liberty to petition when the presidential election results are declared after the August 11 polls.

Article 101 (4) states that “a person may within seven days of the declaration of election results petition the Constitutional Court to nullify the election of a presidential candidate who took part in the initial ballot on the ground that—

(a) the person was not validly elected; or (b) a provision of the Constitution or other law relating to presidential elections was not complied with.

In Article 101 (5) the Constitutional Court is empowered to hear an election petition filed in accordance with Clause (4) within 14 days of the filing of the petition.

In 101 (6) the Constitutional Court may, after hearing an election petition, (a) declare the election of the presidential candidate valid; (b) nullify the election of the presidential candidate; or (c) disqualify the presidential candidate from being a candidate in the second ballot.

Those who have followed the constitutional debate are alive to the qualification of presidential candidates and their running mates.

Article 100 of the Constitution spells out who qualifies as presidential candidate and their running mates.

Among others such as having 1,000 supporter , there is sub-article (E ) which states that candidate must have obtained, as a minimum academic qualification, a Grade 12 qualification or its equivalent.

However, delivering ruling in a matter in which Sibongile Zulu had sued the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the Attorney General over the interpretation of the Grade 12 certificate requirement for candidates to the office of President, MP and councillor, Kabwe High Court Judge Dominic Sichinga said to impose a high standard on political aspirants offended the equal worth of women and men and their right to freely participate in the political, legal, economic and social order of the country.

Judge Sichinga ruled that even those that have gone to trade school but did not possess Grade 12 certificates can still contest the election.

At that point, the ruling allowed presidential candidates and their running mates to file during nomination any other qualification, such as trade and higher academic papers, other than the Grade 12.

It was therefore within Mr Mwamba’s rights to file an Advanced Diploma in Finance and Investment during the filing of nomination papers as running mate of UPND presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema.

But if there are people suspecting the advanced diploma was dubiously obtained, then the doubting Thomases have the right to petition the Constitutional Court.

Did Mr Mwamba use a Grade 12 or Form 5 qualification to enroll for the advanced diploma? This question begs an answer.

Categorized | Editorial

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