By Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
The legal petition challenging the election of Edgar Lungu’s victory in Zambia’s August 11 polls is scheduled to begin formally on Monday.
The decision by the Constitutional Court comes after all preliminary issues were sorted by the applicants and respondents in the case.
The main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) led by Hakainde Hichilema filed a court action to challenge Edgar Lungu’s re-election, alleging the poll was rigged.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) declared Lungu winner of the polls with 50.35% and insists that Lungu’s Patriotic Front (PF) party defeated the UPND’s Hichilema fairly and squarely.
The UPND had earlier in the week sought an injunction to restrain the Electoral Commission from tampering, altering and destroying any election material. The case is before Constitutional Court President, Justice Hilda Chibomba and is expected to be decided within 14 days.
The swearing in of President Lungu, which was scheduled for last Tuesday was suspended following the filing of the petition. Opposition members who took to the streets in the south of the country were arrested by police for violent acts.
President Edgar Lungu stood against nine other contenders, even though the race was largely fought between him and the main opposition’s Hichilema who came in second in the last elections.
The 59-year-old leader has been in power for a year and had gotten his first full mandate to rule the Southern African country. He became president after winning a ballot triggered by the death of his predecessor, Michael Sata, in October 2014.
Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban contributed this piece to the Zambia Elections Information Centre (ZEIC)