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ECZ says can’t be liable for councillors’ decisions to rescind resignations

THE Electoral Commission of Zambia says it cannot be held accountable for the decisions taken by two councillors of Chilongozi and Munyambala wards to resign from their positions and later rescind their decisions.

This is in a matter where democracy and governance specialist at Young Africans Leaders Initiative Zambia Isaac Mwanza has asked the Constitutional Court to determine the validity and constitutionality of a by-election conducted when a councillor resigns but later withdraws their resignation letter.

This was after two UPND councillors for Chilongozi and Munyambala wards decided to rescind their decision to resign from their positions.

Mwanza cited the electoral Commission of Zambia and the Attorney General in the matter seeking a determination on whether a notice of resignation can unilaterally be withdrawn or revoked by a councillor who filed a valid notice of resignation.

He wants an interpretation on whether or not Article 157(2)(b) of the Constitution provides for rescinding a valid resignation thereby compelling the elections body to conduct a by-election.

In his affidavit in support of originating summons, Mwanza stated that he wants a provision on whether the constitution provides for unilateral revocation of or retraction of a notice of resignation by councillors as the outcome may affect the state.

But in an affidavit in opposition to originating summons pursuant to Order 4 Rule 4(4) sworn by ECZ acting chief electoral officer Royd Katongo, a councillor resigns by giving one month’s notice in writing to the mayor or council chairperson and after the expiry of the said notification, a vacancy occurs in that particular ward.

Katongo said the reasons for resigning or rescinding the decision to resign within the one month notification period were within the peculiar knowledge of the individual councillors who resign and rescind their decision to resign.

“I am unable to make specific comments on the cited individual councillors as these matters relate to persons who are not party to these proceedings and the said individuals are best placed to account for the circumstances leading to the said resignations,” Katongo said.

He added that where a ward vacancy occurs, there was a requirement that a by-election should be held within the period of 90 days and ECZ has been conducting ward by elections within the stipulated period of 90 days.

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