CONSTITUTIONAL lawyer John Sangwa has petitioned the Electoral Commission of Zambia in the Constitutional Court for omitting the part which requires a presidential candidate to state the number of times they have held office as President in its affidavit to be sworn by presidential candidates when filing in nomination papers.
He said all those wishing to be nominated for elections as President, member of parliament or councillor are required to comply with Article 52(1) of the constitution which provides that a candidate shall file their nomination papers to a returning officer supported by an affidavit stating that he or she is qualified for nomination in the manner, day, time and place set by ECZ.
Sangwa is seeking an order that the Constitutional Court commands the electoral body to amend the affidavit for presidential candidates and running mates and include another paragraph, which is in compliance with Article 106(3) of the constitution which must read “I have not twice held office as President”.
In the alternative, Sangwa wants ECZ to include another paragraph in the judgement of the court which shall satisfy Article 106(3) of the constitution.
He said following the amendment of the constitution on January 5, 2016, the electoral body in accordance with its mandate prescribed the number of documents to use during elections.
Sangwa said what was of interest to his petition was the affidavit prescribed by the ECZ required to be completed by those wishing to be nominated for elections as President of Zambia, which was titled “Affidavit for presidential/ running mate”
He explained that on April 30, 2021 he attended ECZ’s manager of elections [meeting] at the respondents’ headquarters in Lusaka to confirm whether there had been any amendment to the affidavit for purposes of nominating presidential candidates for the August 12 general election.
Sangwa said he was informed that the substance of the said affidavit has not changed.
He stated that the current version of the affidavit for presidential or running mates does not compel presidential candidates to address what was provided for in Article 106(3) of the constitution.
Sangwa further argued that the affidavit for presidential candidates and running mates does not meet the requirements of Article 52 of the contract because it does not require a candidate in order to qualify for nomination as a presidential candidate to state on oath the number of times they have held office as president as required by Article 106(3) of the constitution.
He further prayed that hearing of the matter be expedited.
The current affidavit is as follows:
I…….., a Zambian citizen nominated to contest Presidential election/as running mate, do hereby make OATH/ solemnly affirm and state that:
1. I am a Zambian citizen by birth/ descent and attach a certified copy of my green National Registration Card Marked 1.
2. I have been ordinarily resident in Zambia and I reside at……(physical address, town, province).
3. I am a registered voter and a certified copy of my voter’s card is attached and marked 2.
4. I am…….years of age
5. I am fluent in the official language
6. I have obtained, as a minimum academic qualification, a Grade twelve certificate or its equivalent and attached is certified copy of my Grade twelve certificate/equivalent marked 3.
7. I have paid all my personal taxes/made arrangement satisfactory to the appropriate tax authority for the payment of the taxes. Attached here is a certified copy of the tax clearance certificate/proof of arrangement of paying taxes marked 4.
8. I have declared my assets and liabilities and the statement of the assets and liabilities is attached and marked 5.
9. I qualify for nomination as a Presidential candidate and the disqualifications in Article 100(2) do not apply to me.
10. I swear this affidavit consciously believing the same to be true and correct to the best of my knowledge.
Sangwa said: “Paragraphs one to eight of the prescribed affidavit satisfy the provisions of Article 100(1) of the constitution while paragraph nine of the affidavit fulfills Article 100(2) of the constitution. In addition to Article 100 of the Constitution, Article 106(3) of the constitution provides another instance where one may be disqualified from nomination as a presidential candidate.”