Internal vying threatens Zambia parties ahead of polls

The by-election was called for soon after the late president Michael Santa died at King at a hospital in the British capital London on October 28

Internal vying threatens Zambia parties ahead of polls

World Bulletin/News Desk

Political parties facing internal conflicts because of the presence of more than one candidate in the presidential by-election – scheduled for January 20 of next year – run the risk of being excluded from the electoral process, a senior election commission official said Saturday.

Electoral commission director Priscilla Isaacs said his commission was extremely worried that some political parties, including the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), the former two ruling parties, namely the United National Independence Party (UNIP) and the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), were engulfed in leadership wrangles ahead of the January 20 by-election.

The by-election was called for soon after the late president Michael Santa died at King at a hospital in the British capital London on October 28.

"I would like to reiterate the warning issued by election commission chairperson, Justice Irene Mambilima, to political parties engulfed in internal wrangles to put their houses in order before filing the nomination papers of their candidates," Isaacs told The Anadolu Agency.

She added that the commission had set three days (between December 17 and to 19) for presidential candidates to submit their nomination papers.

Isaacs said the parities whose leadership problems remain unresolved by these dates would be banned from contesting the presidential by-election, noting that her commission would not extend the nomination date beyond December 19.

"Political parties embroiled in leadership wrangles have an opportunity to resolve their problems between now and the said dates," Isaacs said. "If they don’t, they can bid farewell to contesting the presidential by-election," she added.

Commission Chairperson Justice Irene Mambilima had recently advised presidential contenders to seek party membership, noting that no independent candidates would be allowed to contest the by-election.

"A political party can only sponsor or adopt one candidate," Mambilima said. "In this view, I wish to call on all political parties to put their houses in order and ensure that only one aspiring candidate per political party will represent that party in the forthcoming presidential by-election," she added.

She expected political parties to resolve their leadership conflicts before the nomination date started on December 17.

Mambilima said the by-election – according to Zambia's constitution – should be held within three months from the death of the late president, noting that in this case the by-election must be held before January 28 of next year.

The ruling PF has two presidential candidates, including Defense and Justice Minister, Edger Chagwa Lungu, and Trade and Industry Deputy Minister, Miles Sampa.

Sampa alleged to have been elected by an illegal general conference organized by the acting president Guy Scot.

The conflict over who should represent the ruling party seeped out of party rooms and into the Supreme Courts of laws.

The MMD is equally embroiled in a fierce legal battle between former president Rupiah Banda and the incumbent party president Nevers Sekwila Mumba over the party’s presidential adoption.

The opposition UNIP also faces a similar problem.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Aralık 2014, 16:49