The Humiliating defeat the Patriotic Front (PF) suffered at the hands of the opposition has really shaken the ruling party. Now it says it will petition the Chipata central seat won by the MMD in the July 25 parliamentary by-election.
Home Affairs minister Edgar Lungu who was also the campaign manager in the loss, says MMD candidate Mtolo Phiri did not qualify to re-contest the seat because his election in 2011 was nullified due to corruption as per court pronouncement.
“We are going to ask the court to nullify the election of Mr Phiri because he was not legally fit to contest the seat,” Mr Lungu said.
He said the PF will also challenge any candidate trying to re-contest their seats when their election was nullified due to graft such as Maxwell Mwale of Malambo and Petauke Central’s Dora Siliya.
Both politicians’ polls were nullified due to “massive corruption” allegations established to be valid by the courts of law.
Mr Lungu said the law around corruption is clear for all to follow and not deliberately ignore.
He said the PF was threatened by the MMD when it nominated Darius Mumba to re-contest the seat nullified because of alleged electoral corruption.
Mr Lungu said the PF followed the law and disqualified Mr Mumba and found a suitable candidate to contest the seat.
“They told us that it was illegal for Mr Mumba to re-contest the seat and the MMD said they would petition the election if he won. What has changed now?” he asked.
He said the MMD should find another candidate to re-contest Chipata Central, Petauke Central and Malambo parliamentary seats other than the ones whose seats were nullified because of corruption.
He said it will not be fair for such aspirants to re-contest the seats.
Mr Lungu wondered why the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and even the police are not acting upon court pronouncements of some MMD politicians seeking re election despite evidence of graft.
He identified the politicians as Dora Siliya, the former Petauke legislator, Maxwell Mwale of Malambo and Mtolo Phiri of Chipata Central whom he said should, under normal circumstances, not be allowed anywhere near an election register until they are “cleared” by an ACC probe based on court pronouncements.
“We are still waiting for the ECZ to show courage together with the ACC and act on these cases,” Mr Lungu, a lawyer himself, said. “It is but an academic exercise for the courts to annul polls based on corruption just to have the same people re-contest…it makes absolutely no sense at all and it’s a mockery of justice.”
ACC Commissioner Roswin Wandi has not stated a clear position on the matter even after a written query and direction from Mr Lungu, who is also the Home Affairs Minister.