Lusaka High Court judge Mwila Chitabo has grante the UPND leave to start judicial review proceedings to challenge the decision of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to commence online voter registration without authority of law and further, to give a 30-day cut-off time for the said registration.Judge Chitabo has directed that he will hear both parties on September 9, 2020 (tomorrow).
“Upon reading affidavit filed in support of the application; it is hereby ordered that leave to apply for judicial review be and is hereby granted to the applicant herein. It is further ordered and directed that inter-parte hearing of this matter shall be on September 9, this year,”
read the order signed by judge Chitabo.
In this matter, UPND deputy secretary general Gertrude Imenda sued ECZ and the Attorney General and is seeking a declaration that the Commission’s decision to launch and host an online voter registration platform albeit dubbed as a ‘test run’ on its website eczovr.org and commence the online voter registration on the said platform is capricious and without authority of law.She further wants the court to quash the decision by ECZ to give a 30 days cut off time for the voter registration exercise scheduled for October 18, 2020 and an order compelling ECZ to embark on a continuous voter registration exercise to a reasonable period before the said general elections in 2021.Imenda also wants the court to declare that ECZ was oblivious to the effects of COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the dire need to have more citizens to register as voters in the wake of the August 12, 2021 general elections and therefore acted unreasonably, irrationally or with a hidden ulterior motive at the behest of an invisible hand in announcing a ‘30 days’ cut-off time for the voter registration scheduled to commence on October 18, 2020.The applicant wants a declaration that the decision by ECZ to discard the existing voter register was ultra vires section 7 and section 14 of the Electoral Process Act number 35 of 2016 and an order of certiorari to remove into the High Court for purposes of quashing the online voter registration platform on the ECZ portal and the said impugned decision to commence the online voter registration exercise.