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Zambia's top court sets September 2 to start election petition trial

Zambia's top court sets September 2 to start election petition trial

Zambia

Zambia’s constitutional court will begin hearing of the substantive case in an election petition filed by the main opposition on Friday September 2, according to United Party for National Development (UPND’s) lawyer Jack Mwiimbu.

The UPND filed the petition challenging the re-election of Edgar Lungu in Zambia’s August 11 polls. They said the poll was rigged by the government with collusion from the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ.)

Ahead of Friday, the court will on Wednesday deliver a ruling on the application by the opposition asking the court to take custody of electoral materials from the ECZ. UPND says the application was to ensure that the electoral materials which are pieces of evidence will not be tampered with.

The ECZ declared Lungu winner of the polls with 50.35% and insists that Lungu’s Patriotic Front (PF) party defeated the UPND’s Hichilema fairly and squarely. Hichelima got 47.35% of votes according to the final results.

Lawyers for the petitioners and the respondents have been engaged in battle of amendments. The opposition’s moves to amend their petition have been resisted by Lungu’s lawyers stating that it could mean that they need more time to study the amended documents.

The Constitutional Court has directed that all outstanding matters be resolved or filed before Thursday ahead of the commencement of the trial.

Zambia’s Constitutional Court consists of six judges: Judge Hildah Chibomba as President of the Court and Judge Mugeni Mulenga, Judge Margaret Munalula, Judge Anne Sitali, Judge Enock Mulembe and Judge Palan Mulonda.

The Court has the final jurisdiction to hear and determine matters in respect of interpretation of any provision of the constitution. Dissatisfied parties cannot appeal to any other court after its ruling.

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