By MacDonald Chipenzi
DID THE ECZ BREACH THE CONSTITUTION BY FAILING TO PUBLISH NAMES AND DETAILS OF THE DELIMITATED CONSTITUENCIES AND EFFECT THEM AT THE DISSOLUTION OF PARLIAMENT ON 14TH MAY, 2021?
According to Article 58 of the Constitution, ECZ DELIMITATED CONSTITUENCIES were supposed to have been published in the government Gazette and become effective on 14 May when Parliament dissolved.
Alas, this was not done and the delimitated constituencies remain still a secret for the ECZ and the President contrary to the provisions of the Constitution article 58 (4) which guides that the ECZ thus:
“The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) SHALL determine the names and boundaries of Constituencies and Wards”
In addition, Article 58(6) further guides that;
“The names and details of the boundaries of constituencies and wards shall be published in the Gazette and shall come into effect on the next dissolution of Parliament or councils.”
By this provision, it was and is an automatic amendment to Article 68 which prescribes the composition on parliament without having attached it to the dramatic and diabolic Bill 10.
ECZ further failed to effect the changes in constituencies as directed by the Constitution when Parliament dissolved despite the Constitution dictating so.
Instead, ECZ only effectedi the delimitated wards and polling stations only leaving out the constituencies which I feel was a bluntant disregard of the Constitution.
Delimitation of constituencies, just like that of wards and polling stations, is an operation of the law as provided for under Article 58 (5).
This Article directs that “the Electoral Commission shall, at intervals of not more than ten years, review the names and boundaries of constituencies and wards.”
However, the nation was surprised when ECZ submitted the report on delimitation, together with the delimitated constituencies, to the President instead of publishing it in the Government Gazette as per law establishment.
This is despite being no provisions in the Constitution that instruct the ECZ to submit such a report to the President and wait for his feedback on the same before ECZ could act on It. I BEG to be corrected.
To this end, will it be wrong if the provision of Article 58 (7) which guides that “A person may apply to the Constitutional Court for review of a decision of the Electoral Commission made under this Article” is summoned against the ECZ?
Time to make ECZ accountable on its failure to implement the provisions of this Article is not tomorrow but now. We need to petition the ECZ in the Constitutional Court without any further delay.