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Lawyers, ECZ disagree on independents

SIKOTA

VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka

With general elections taking place in the next 16 days, Zambia has witnessed a growing number of independent candidates at local government and parliamentary levels. After being disappointed by their former political parties, some of the aspirants for parliamentary and municipal office opted to go solo. As they canvass for votes for themselves, some of the independent candidates are also drumming up support for their preferred presidential candidates.However, this does not sit well with Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), which has threatened independent candidates with sanctions for aligning with political parties.However, some lawyers have ruled ECZ out of order, saying independent candidates have a constitutional right to throw their weight behind any candidate of their choice in the forthcoming elections. A University of Zambia (UNZA) social scientist, Evans Daka, explains that most independent candidates come about as a result of not being adopted by their political parties. However, others, like Munali constituency aspirant Thomas Sipalo, opt to go it alone from the onset. Mr Daka observes that the independent candidates feel that even without being attached to a particular political party, they actually can still win an election. In the past, some independent candidates have managed to outshine other candidates and emerging as winners, especially at parliamentary level. For example, the 2016 general elections produced 14 independent members of Parliament. “This is just saturating the process because CLICK TO READ MORE



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