Concourt to hear petition against Lundazi MP’s election and preliminary issues at the same time

By Staff Reporter

 

THE Constitutional Court has ordered that it will hear the preliminary issues raised by Lundazi independent member of parliament Lawrence Nyirenda together with the petition lodged by losing candidate Bizwayo Nkunika who is challenging the former’s election.

 

According to Constitutional Court president judge Hildah Chibomba, judge Anne Sitali and judge Palan Mulonda informed lawyers for the petitioner and respondents that after perusal of the record, they picked a position which was to hear the preliminary issues raised at the same time as the petition.

The court also noted that Nyirenda had not filed an answer to the petition.

The judges, therefore, ordered that the record of the petition be remitted so that directions were issued and so that the petition was prepared for hearing by the court.

In this petition, Nkunika has petitioned the court to nullify the election of Nyirenda, arguing that he does not have the minimum academic qualifications as prescribed under Article 70 (1) (d) of the Constitution of Zambia.

Nkunika claimed that Nyirenda does not hold a minimum of grade 12 certificate.

The petitioner wants an order to compel the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), who are second respondents, to hold elections in Lundazi within 90 days.

Nyirenda has raised preliminary issues in which he wants the court to determine whether the petition was statute barred having been filed outside the constitutional limitation period provided under Articles 52 (4) of the Constitution.

He also submitted that no leave of the court was sought by Nkunika before filing the petition as required by law.

But Nkunika urged the court to dismiss the preliminary issues and proceed to hear his case.