Bye-election coming in Chipata as Mangani wins petition

Bye-election coming in Chipata as Mangani wins petition

Mnagani

Contacts in the Judiciary have revealed that Chipata Member of Parliament (MP) Reuben Phiri has lost his election appeal in the Supreme Court.

This means that there will be a parliamentary by-election in Chipata Central within the next three months.

Late last year, losing Patriotic Front candidate Lameck Mangani had petitioned the election of Mr Phiri on grounds that the MMD member abrogated electoral laws and wanted the High Court to nullify his election.

Mangani succeded in the High Court after Judge Evans Hamaundu said Mr Phiri’s donation of K1 million to Katopola congregation of the Reformed Church in Zambia was an illegal act.

Judge Hamaundu said Mr Phiri made the donation in person and his appearance in church when an election was imminent was a clear indication that he was soliciting for votes from the congregants.

“For these reasons, it is clear that the respondent engaged in illegality and misconduct during an election and the donation of K1 million is enough for an election to be void. I therefore declare the election of the respondent (Mr Phiri) as member of National Assembly void,” he said.

Mr Justice Hamaundu said Mr Phiri’s action to attend church service at Katopola congregation was intended to woo people to vote for him.

He said Mr Phiri took advantage of a government project of sinking boreholes and used it to enhance his campaigns to solicit for votes.

Mr Justice Hamaundu said it was against electoral laws for Mr Phiri to use government resources and take advantage of government projects for campaign purposes.

But MP Phiri appealed to the Supreme Court.

According to judiciary sources, the Supreme Court sat last week sat and upheld the judgment but Judge Hamaundu.

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