LUNDAZI Central independent member of parliament Lawrence Nyirenda has asked the Constitutional Court to join the Attorney General in the matter Bizwayo Nkunika has challenged his electoral victory on an allegation that he does not have a grade twelve certificate. Nyirenda maintained that the court dismisses Colonel Nkunika’s petition saying his tertiary qualifications were equivalent or higher than his grade twelve certificate and the Electoral Commission of Zambia allowed him to contest the general elections because it was satisfied with his qualifications.
Nyirenda wants the Attorney General to be a party to the proceedings because the matter was of public policy and required his involvement being the chief legal advisor of government. In an affidavit in support of notice of motion for joinder of the Attorney General as a party to the proceedings, Nyirenda stated that if the Attorney General was not joined, the government might be prejudiced by the judgment that might be passed as the matter was of public policy.
“Unless the Attorney General is joined to the proceedings, I am likely to suffer severe injustice and prejudice,” Nyirenda stated.
In this matter, colonel Nkunika claimed that the Electoral Commission contravened article 70 and 72 of the Constitution when it allowed Nyirenda to contest the Lundazi Central seat without the minimum grade twelve qualification. But in an affidavit in opposition to the petition filed on May 23, Nyirenda dispelled the petitioner’s allegations stating that ECZ’s Lundazi Constituency presiding officer George Banda returned his Grade 12 certificate to him as his tertiary certificates were enough for him to contest the elections. He said he under listed his qualifications adding that during the 2016 general elections, all his qualifications were certified as per instructions from ECZ and that it was satisfied with his qualifications as they met the Electoral Commission’s qualification requirements.
“ECZ, Lundazi Constituency presiding officer Mr George Banda received all my five certificates and he was satisfied with them according to Electoral Commission of Zambia qualification requirements. He categorised my qualifications into two parts, that is ‘my Grade 12 certificate and my tertiary certificates,” he said.
“He collected all the four tertiary certificates and recorded them on the same ECZ form under part ‘B’, as for my grade 12 certificate, he returned it to me and said all the tertiary certificates were enough for me to contest the elections thus no provision has been violated.”
Nyirenda said the constitutional court should not entertain the petition because Col Nkunika had all the time provided in the Constitution to challenge his election but spent all that time harassing him using a Zambia Police officer by the name of ‘Kabamba’ based at Force Headquarters in Lusaka. He claimed that Col Nkunika had opted for a law suit after failing to use the police to remove him from Parliament using intimidation.
“The court should refuse to entertain this matter as doing so would create a bad precedence following the dismissal of Hakainde Hichilema’s election petition after the expiry of the 14 days barred by the same Constitution,” Nyirenda said.
He added that Col Nkunika’s decision to bring the application before court now was an abuse of court process and an attempt to derail his peaceful enjoyment as Lundazi member of parliament.
He further stated that the court should dismiss the matter with costs as the petitioner did not comply with the timeframes set in the Constitution.