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Judge Chawatama throws out the case by Pilato and others, who had sued ECZ over voter registration 

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LUSAKA High Court judge Gertrude Chawatama has dismissed a case in which Fumba Chama also known as Pilato and four others wanted to challenge the decision of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to compel duly registered voters to present themselves for verification under a new register for the 2021 general elections as a condition to participate in the poll.
Pilato, Maiko Zulu, Brian Bwembya popularly known as BFlow and two youths Nawa Sitali and Muleta Kapatiso were seeking leave to commence judicial review proceedings to challenge the decision by the ECZ which they argued that it was illegal.
Pilato and Others through their lawyers Mutembo Nchito and Musa Mwenye wanted the court to quash ECZ’s decision for being unreasonable.
But ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano urged the court not to grant the applicants’ application because the case was prematurely before court.
He explained that the case by Pilato and others was similar to two other case in court already in which applicants are seeking similar remedies.
Nshindano urged the court not to entertain the application.
“The applicants are  prematurely before this Honourable  Court as the  respondent is guided by the Electoral Process Act in carrying out of the voter registration exercise and the law provides for a redress mechanism for persons aggrieved with the registration process,” Nshindano submitted.
In her ruling, judge Chawatama said allowing proceedings in the Pilato case  to proceed might lead to conflicting decisions by herself and judge Mwila Chitabo who is presiding over a similar matter by the UPND and that that would bring the integrity of the court into disrepute.
She said the decision which would be made before judge Chitabo, although brought  by the UPND, would resolve the issues which Pilato and Others have brought before her.
“I agree with the ECZ that the motives for the respective applicants may be different, the rights they all seem to protect are not of those individual groups or the groups they represent,” the judge said.
Judge Chawatama said the complaints emanated from a set of facts, and that is the decision of the ECZ to require currently validly registered voters in terms of the law to participate in a process that amounts to requiring them to register as voters in a period of one month.
“The reliefs sought in the two matters are similar, the gist of which is to quash the said decision of the respondent,” she said.
Judge Chawatama added that she was also alive to the fact that whatever decision she would make, it might impact on the application for leave for judicial review.
She dismissed the application and granted Pilato and others leave to appeal.
Judge Chawatama however, ordered that each party will bear own costs.
Group spokesperson Muleta Kapatiso after the ruling said the applicants were shocked that the matter was dismissed on grounds that it was similar to that of the UPND.
“It comes to us with shock because in our view, this amounts to telling us that until one case which is being handled by judge Chitabo is heard and finalised, no other citizens will raise anything on similar grounds. We will not be forced to join the UPND and their case,” he said.
“We will continue to seek other avenues to ensure that ECZ is accountable.”

Politics

All engagements in American will discuss matters of interest to the people of Zambia, says President Hakainde Hichilema

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PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema says while in the United States of America he will ensure that all engagements and meetings will discuss matters of interest to the people of Zambia.

In a Facebook post,  President Hichilema said his focus areas during the engagements will be on economic development, jobs, business opportunities, education and quality health care services for the  people of Zambia.

“Just like we promised before taking office, we will ensure prudent management of public resources and have therefore  travelled with a lean team that is composed of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Finance, Honourables Stanley Kakubo and Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane respectively,” he wrote.

The President said while the United Nations General Assembly, he will also share the development plan for Zambia with the wider global community.

“As we address this meeting we will present a case for that child in Chipulukusu, Chief Kambombo, Chama, Mugubudu or indeed Sikongo.

Our focus is turning around our Country’s economy and yes, we are working round the clock to ensure that this comes to fruition,” he said.

President Hichilema is in the US to attend the UN General Assembly being held in New York.

(Picture by Chellah Tukuta/State House)

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Politics

FPI says pronouncements by Chushi Kasanda contradicts those of President Hakainde Hichilema

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THE  Free Press Initiative (FPI) says it dismayed by pronouncements made by Information and Media minister Chushi Kasanda that Zambians must exercise freedom of expression with restraint.

FPI Zambia founder Joan Chirwa has since called on government to clearly state its position on freedom of expression considering the latest statement by the Chief Government Spokesperson.

In a media statement issued today, Ms Chirwa said the statement by Ms Kasanda is shocking as it contradicted President Hakainde Hichilema’s stance that Zambians are free to express themselves in whichever way.

“Freedom of expression is a constitutionally guaranteed right that all Zambians enjoy subject only to the limitations stated in the Constitution and a minister has no right to gag the citizenry,” she said.

Ms Chirwa further called on the minister to quickly correct the impression created which, as FPI, find very disturbing, especially that the freedom of expression right has in the recent years been eroded through arrests, closures of radio stations and newspapers which seemed to have dissenting voices to those of the former government.

“Therefore, hearing a minister attaching conditions to how far someone should go as they express themselves is something that we want the government to categorically state if that is their current position,” she said.

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Antonio Mwanza steps down as PF Youth National Chairman and Media Director.

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PATRIOTIC Front (PF) national youth chairman and party media director Antonio Mwanza has stepped down from his positions.

In a media statement, Mr Mwanza said he will remain an ordinary member of the party’s central committee.

“Further, I wish to indicate that I will also be stepping down as the party’s media director.

I pledge my loyalty and commitment to the Party and I pledge to continue working hard for the furtherance of the PF’s agenda,” he said.

Mr Mwanza thanked  President Edgar  Lungu for the trust and confidence he exhibited in him for the appointments.

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Foxdale Forest – Phase 2 Selling

ZAMBIA: COVID-19 STATS

21 Sep 2021, 4:42 AM (GMT)

Zambia Stats

208,502 Total Cases
3,639 Deaths
204,263 Recovered

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