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ConCourt dismisses Musenge petition appeal

THE Constitutional Court has dismissed an election petition appeal by Mwenya Musenge who was challenging the election of Mwila Mutale as independent member of parliament for Chimwemwe.

Musenge, who is now National Democratic Congress secretary general, stood on the PF ticket but lost and he appealed against the Kitwe High Court’s decision to declare Mutale as the duly elected member of parliament for Chimwemwe constituency.

Delivering judgment in the matter, Constitutional Court president Hildah Chibomba, judges Annie Sitali, Mungeni Mulenga, Palan Mulonda and Enock Mulembe said the appeal by Musenge lacked merit.

Justice Mulonda, who read the judgment on behalf of the panel, said Musenge needed to have adduced cogent evidence to a fairly high degree of convincing clarity to show the effect of the proved malpractices on the electorate.

He said the evidence on record did not in the view of the court satisfy the standard of proof set for election petition.

“We, therefore, agree with the trial judge’s finding as regards the proved act of character assassination, that it had not been proved to a high degree of convincing clarity so that it could be sufficiently concluded that the voters were or may have been prevented from voting for their preferred candidate,” justice Mulonda said.

On November 23, 2016, the Kitwe High Court held that Mutale’s election was valid.

Mutale polled 14,695 votes while Musenge got 9,111 votes.

Musenge then challenged the results, arguing that Mutale was not qualified or was a person not qualified for election as member of parliament  under Article 51 (a) of the Constitution as amended because he was at nomination and election time, a PF member who held the position of constituency chairperson and that although he had tendered in his resignation letter on May 31, 2016 to the constituency, he had pledged to campaign for the PF presidential candidate and all its councillors in the constituency which he did.

But Mutale denied the allegations, saying that he was not a member of the PF at the time he contested the elections.

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