Constitutional Court throws out five election petition appeals

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THE Constitutional Court has upheld five election petition appeals among them Kasama Central and Nalikwanda constituencies after finding that the petitioners failed to prove allegations of electoral malpractices.

According to five judgements delivered today, the court upheld the decisions of High Court judges who found that Kasama Central PF member of parliament Kelvin Sampa, Nalikwanda UPND’s Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa, UPND’s Gift Sialubalu of Sinazongwe, Elliot Kamondo of Mufumbwe and Rogers Mwewa who is PF Mwasabombwe member of parliament were validly elected.

In the Kasama Central parliamentary seat that was petitioned by UPND’s Sibongile Mwamba, Constitutional Court judge Mungeni Mulenga said the court did not fault the findings of the lower court which dismissed all the grounds, stating that Mwamba failed to prove that Sampa engaged in electoral practices during the August 2016 elections.

The court dismissed all the grounds advanced by Mwamba among them that the raid at her house was sanctioned by Sampa and also that he donated shoes in order to influence voters.

She said there was no evidence to show that the shoes were donated during the campaign period.
Judge Mulenga said there was no evidence to prove that the unfair and hate speech messages that were put on banners and flyers alleging that UPND president Hakainde Hichilema was a Satanist were orchestrated by Sampa or his agents to prevent the electorate to vote for Mwamba.

She said the allegation that Sampa distributed alcoholic beverages also failed because the evidence on the same was not corroborated.

“The appellant did little to establish that the first respondent distributed alcohol and therefore, we will not fault the findings of the trial judge,” judge Mulenga said.

She also dismissed all the grounds of appeal in the Nalikwanda petition appeal, saying they lacked merit.

Judge Mulenga said the Constitutional Court would not doubt the findings of the lower court as it had an opportunity to observe the demeanour of the witnesses and also the benefit of seeing the witnesses.

She said the court would not reverse the findings of facts based on the credibility of witnesses.

Judge Mulenga added that the ground that Prof Lungwangwa distributed K100s was not proved because there was no evidence to show that the member of parliament distributed the monies and they cannot fault the lower court’s finding.

And judge Margaret Munalula upheld the election of Mwewa after dismissing the grounds of appeal filed by Sunday Chitundu Maluba of the MMD for lack of merit.

Judge Munalula also dismissed the Sinazongwe appeal lodged by PF losing candidate Richwell Siamunene against Gift Sialubalu.

Meanwhile, judge Palan Mulonda threw out PF’s Steven Masumba’s appeal against Kamondo of the UPND for failure to prove the allegations of electoral malpractices – Lusaka Times.

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