By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
THE ELECTORAL Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has submitted to the Constitutional Court that it is its mandate to prescribe nomination fees and is backed by the Constitution.
In this case, the ECZ has asked the court to dismiss the petition by Radical Revolutionary Party president Vincent Chaile challenging the prescribed nomination fees for want of jurisdiction.
Mr Chaile has petitioned the court seeking a declaration that the nomination fees for the fourthcoming general elections announced by ECZ were null and void.
He also wants an injunction restraining ECZ from proceeding with the holding of general elections set for August 12 this year until the final determination of the matter.
Mr Chaile stated that at various meeting held between ECZ and other stakeholders, concerns were raised that the proposed nomination fees were too high and meant to deter poor people from participating in the leadership of the country.
ECZ’s initial proposed fees were K150, 000 for male presidential candidates while female presidential candidates and persons with disabilities were to pay K120, 000.
Male parliamentary candidates were required to pay K25, 000 from K7, 500 while female candidates, youth and persons with disabilities are expected to pay K20, 000 from K7, 500.
For mayors, male candidates will have to pay K25, 000 from K7, 500, while female candidates, youths and persons with disabilities will pay K20, 000 from K7, 500, among others.
These fees were later revised, pegging the fee for male presidential candidates at K95, 000, female presidential candidates at K75, 000 and K60, 000 for youths and persons living with disabilities.
Parliamentary male candidates’ fees were put at K15, 000, females K13, 500 while the youth and persons with disabilities will be required to pay K10, 000. Mayoral male candidates will pay K15, 000 and K13, 500 for females while the youth and persons with disabilities are expected to pay K10, 000.
But in an affidavit in support of summons to strike out the petition, ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano stated that the petition does not disclose any alleged violation of the Constitution on the part of the Commission.
“That I am further advised by the respondent’s (ECZ) advocates and I verily believe that it is the mandate of the respondent to prescribe nomination fees (election fees) under the Electoral Process (general) Regulations, 2016, the Electoral Process Act and the Constitution of Zambia,” Mr Nshindano stated.
He submitted that the court has no jurisdiction to enforce Mr Chaile’s alleged discrimination on the basis of sex and the alleged violation of the petitioner’s political rights.