I should disagree with The Post, The ACC and the PF with the way s.22 of the Electoral Act read with ss.104 to 107 is being interpreted.
Ultimately, the advise of the Solicitor General that the PF should attempt to ask the High Court to interpret these laws seem to be appropriate. Nevertheless, I just do not foresee a situation where the High Court will rule that any nullified election on the basis of corruption or illegal activity will lead to barring of the respondent for 5 years.
Had the framers of this law contemplated direct barring, they would not have inserted the phrase that the High Court should send a “report” to the ECZ. I am of the view that, the sending of the “report” to the ECZ imposes upon the High Court to act, firstly, judiciously on this point. Secondly, it imposes a duty upon the High Court to consider the degree culpability. It should only be in those situations where the candidate is gravely culpable that the High Court should issue this “report”.
The other matter to be considered concerns the punishment contemplated by this Act. Indeed, since the punishment contemplated here will result in proscribing the participation of a person in the democratic process of our republic, it should follow that only morally culpable individuals should be barred. Participation in elections, both as candidate and as a voter is a fundamental peripheral of our democracy. It should take very exceptional circumstances such as criminal convictions or stuff like that to bar a Zambian from participating in elections.
That being the case, we should await the ruling of the honourable High Court on this matter. But I seriously doubt, whether the High Court will agree with M’membe, or with the ACC or with Hon Wynter “One Party State” Kabimba.
Leave Dora Siliya alone.