According to the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), only courts of law, when petitioned, have the authority to annul election results.
LAZ president Abyudi Shonga said the association is deeply disturbed by President Lungu’s views, who is also a presidential candidate in the 2021 presidential election, declaring the elections in the Western, Southern, and North Western Provinces null and void.
Mr Shonga stated that, while candidates have a fundamental right to be dissatisfied with the electoral process, the legislation offers methods to address such complaints.
He said according to the Constitution of Zambia, electoral disputes and grievances can only be resolved by the courts of law, after, and not before, election results are announced and winners declared by the body mandated to do so, which is the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).
“In respect of presidential elections, Article 101(4) of the Constitution specifically provides that the body mandated to settle disputes and nullify elections is only the Constitutional Court, which can only be petitioned within 7 days of a declaration of a winner of the presidential election results, and not before. Therefore, sentiments impugning the elections by anyone other than the Courts of law are most unfortunate and have a danger of undermining democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law in the conduct of general elections in the country,” he said
Mr Shonga said suggestions that the ECZ can be ordered to stop announcing election results and declaring a winner on account of one party being unhappy, whether or not the complaint is justified, are not in tandem with the law governing elections.
He called on stakeholders including President Lungu, who is equally bound by the Constitutional provisions to give ECZ a chance to discharge its mandate without fear or intimidation.
“The electoral process must be protected in order for the election to be legitimate. This is the only sure way, we can as a country, continue to entrench democracy and constitutionalism in our nation, which forms our national values and principles as provided under Article 8 of the Constitution of Zambia. In order for the will of the people to prevail, the sanctity of the election must be protected,” Mr Shonga said.