STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
THERE is a lacuna in the law concerning qualifications for those intending to contest as executive mayors in the August 11 general elections, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has said.
Speaking on behalf of ECZ chairperson Justice Esau Chulu, Commissioner Christopher Mushabati said the commission has since decided to use the qualifications of Parliamentary candidates for those standing as executive mayors.
â€œThese qualifications for candidates have just been introduced in the new Constitution and for executive mayors it is silent,â€ Justice Mushabati said.
He said this yesterday during an interaction with journalists from various media houses across the country where the ECZ was giving a brief on the preparations for the 2016 general elections.
Justice Mushabati said ECZ therefore feels the grade 12 qualification must also apply to those seeking mayoral office.
He, however, said these qualifications cannot be enforced until there is an enabling piece of law.
â€œWe hope the amendment will be passed during the next session before Parliament is dissolved,â€ Justice Mushabati said.
Justice Mushabati said as far as the ECZ is concerned and in liaison with the Examinations Council of Zambia, a grade 12 certificate means five passes that include two credits or six passes and one credit with English as a must in both cases.
â€œECZ is manned by people who have the best interest of this nation at heart,â€ he said.
Justice Mushabati said anyone who will express dissatisfaction with any of the requirements is at liberty to go to the Constitutional Court.
â€œIf anyone is in doubt, the Constitutional court will give an interpretation,â€ Justice Mushabati said.
And Justice Mushabati says the K75,000 requirement for those vying for Presidency does not even meet half of the costs for one Presidential candidateâ€™s ballot papers and related costs.
â€œYou require US$16,000 just for one (votersâ€™) register for one Presidential candidate. Then we pay for the candidateâ€™s air ticket and allowances for two weeks, so it is not as cheap as people assume,â€ Justice Mushabati said.
He prodded the media to be objective in theirÂ reporting because people make decisions based on what they read in the media.
STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka