Fixing bye-elections

From Zambian Economist Fri Feb 8 2013, 06:53:00

Two more bye-elections are coming - and many more to come! The Supreme Court last week nullified the election of two MMD MPs for electoral malpractice.

Kapiri Mposhi MP Lawrence Zimba had won the High Court case but his opponent appealed to the Supreme Court, resulting in the removal of the MP. Judge Gregory Phiri said the High Court misdirected itself when it held that there were no electoral malpractices. Mr Zimba was present when Thandiwe Banda was distributing money to groups of women and was also actively involved in the distribution of money. More importantly the Judge said that it is was not necessary to establish that the majority of voters were not prevented from voting for a candidate of their choice. Simply preventing a few voters is electoral malpractice resulting in nullification. Lukulu West MP Misheck Mutelo had appealed to the Supreme Court after his election was nullified by the High Court last year. Supreme Court judge Elizabeth Muyovwe upheld the High Court's decision to nullify the election on grounds of electoral malpractices.

These are great judgements which uphold the rule of law. There are many more bye-elections coming once the Supreme Court finishes off the appeals. More losses for MMD are coming. The MMD has only itself to blame for its brazen corruption and the impunity it treated the electoral code. Justice is now being done. And so it should be - for it is clear to many who observed the 2011 elections that they were NOT free or fair. The international bodies once who passed them as such, now hide in quietly in shame.

But we have a bigger problem : Mr Mutelo and Mr Zimba have for the last year been eating money that they should not eat. They have received gratuities and allowances at huge cost to taxpayers even though they got there through electoral malpractice. There's something wrong here. The verdicts do not deliver full justice to the Zambian people. A better outcome would be for Mr ...

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