A Zambian opposition party has challenged the electoral commission’s decision to suspend campaigns in Namwala and Lusaka following a surge in politically related violence in the two cities. The Forum for Democracy and Development petitioned the Constitutional Court, which by law must handle all election-related disputes in Zambia within seven days after they are filed. The Electoral Commission of Zambia said it has the constitutional authority to change campaign timetables, and that it therefore could suspend the campaigning after the violence, which allegedly was carried out by supporters of the main opposition United Party for National Development. The violence in Namwala left FDD parliamentary candidate Charity Kabongomana injured and hospitalized.
Electoral law specifies sanctions that should be meted out to individuals or political parties and their candidates proven to have engaged in violence.
“We are questioning the legal mandate that the electoral commission used in suspending the campaigns in Lusaka and Namwala. When we perused through the [electoral] act, we found that the Electoral Commission of Zambia actually does not have the mandate by law to suspend election campaigns,” said Antonio Mwanza, FDD spokesman.
Full Article: Zambia Opposition Party Challenges Campaign Suspensions in 2 Cities.