Zambian court locks out PF candidates

2014-12-16 06:50
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Johannesburg - The Zambian Supreme Court has set aside the consent judgment delivered in favour of Defence and Justice Minister Edgar Lungu, placing the election campaign of the Patriotic Front (PF) in jeopardy, the Press Association of Zambia (Paza) reported on Monday.

Last month, the Lusaka High Court granted a consent judgment to Lungu to become PF candidate for the 20 January 2015 presidential election.

Deputy Minister of Commerce Miles Sampa appealed the judgment, arguing that he never consented to the judgment that made Lungu PF president and candidate.

Electoral Commission of Zambia chairperson Ireen Mambilima had already announced that the elections body would not postpone the key process of nominations to allow the PF to settle its court case.

Nomination dates were set for Wednesday.

Nominations were a confirmation of the candidates whose passport-sized photographs would appear on the ballot papers to be printed in South Africa starting next week.

The court battle arose from the recent PF general conference at which Lungu and Sampa emerged as candidates after wide divisions among the top brass and delegates aligned to the two camps.

In the ruling delivered on Monday afternoon, the Supreme Court allowed Sampa to be joined to the High Court case which delivered the consent judgment.

The matter was referred back to the Supreme Court to hear the injunction filed by Sampa against Lungu, who had already campaigned in two of the 10 provinces of the southern African nation.

The PF and its predecessor, the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy, are facing similar problems with two candidates fighting for adoption in the courts.

The former ruling party is split between former president Rupiah Bwezani Banda and the disposed evangelist Nevers Sekwila Mumba.

Mumba’s challenge in the Supreme Court was on Monday postponed to Tuesday.

Political analyst Macdonald Chipenzi, speaking soon after the ruling, feared that the court process by the PF could just be rendered academic because court verdicts in Zambia take as long as five years.

Read more on:    zambia  |  southern africa  |  zambia elections 2015

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