SELF-WITHDRAWAL BY AN INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE CANNOT CAUSE CANCELLATION AND CALL FOR FRESH NOMINATIONS?
Social media is awash with a letter of resignation (not knowing from.what) and withdrawal (perhaps from the parliamentary race) allegedly issued by one independent candidate for Kabushi citing malpractices by some competing candidates.
A right has been exercised but if the aim is desperately to induce the cancellation of the by-elections and call fresh nominations to accommodate the embattled duo, is unfortunate but too late.
In accordance with Article 52(6) of the republican Constitution, a cancelaltion of nomination is through resignation, death and or disqualification of a duly nominated candidate.
But resignation from what? It is from a party and not from independent because one goes nowhere.
Nominations to contest an election is done in accordance with Article 52(1) of the Constitution and Section 31 of the Electoral Act.
Electoral Process Act No 35 of 2016 section 31(1) states that
A withdrawal of one’s candidature after the nomination period has expired is contrary to provision of section 31(2) and is null and void.
Sec 31(1) is illustrative and guides that a duly nominated candidate cannot withdraw from the race after the expiry of the nomination period.
It guides that duly nominated candidates at parliamentary level thus:
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*A nomination submitted under subsection (1) *may be withdrawn at any time, before the expiry of the period appointed for lodging nomination papers* in respect of the constituency concerned, if the candidate delivers to the returning officer a written
notice to that effect.*
Therefore, from the provision cited above, the ECZ has power to ACCEPT WITHDRAWALS from candidates done/delivered W ITHIN the period for lodgement of nominations
ECZ has no legal powers and mandate to entertain and accept any withdrawal done/delivered outside the timeframe for nominations.
To this end and in my view, Keenedy Yombwe remains the validly and duly nominated independent candidate for Kabushi parliamentary Constituency seat and his letter of resignation and withdrawal is null and void.
It goes without argument that the cancellation of the by-election by ECZ and the call for fresh nominations could be illegal, unexpected and farfetched.
Another legal battle in offing.