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BY CHARLES TEMBO
Ndola High Court Judge Mary Mulanda has dismissed an application by the United Party for National Development (UPND) in which it asked the court to quash the decision by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to ban campaign rallies.
The UPND asked the Ndola High Court to stay the decision by the Electoral Commission of Zambia to ban campaign rallies as the decision is illegal.
UPND Secretary General Batuke Imenda contended that the court to quash the decision of ECZ to ban the campaign rallies during campaign period leading to the General Elections scheduled on August 12.
He claimed that ECZ has further abrogated its responsibility under television, radio and print media for the benefit of all participating political parties and independent candidates for the forthcoming national polls.
Mr Imenda stated that ECZ has abrogated its responsibility under section 8 of the Electoral of Code of Conduct by ignoring to precribe the amount of airtime in any given language on public television, radio, and electronic media to be allocated to all the participating political parties and independent candidates.
He further contended that the incumbent President, Edgar Lungu, vice President Inonge Wina and his running mate Professor Nkandu Luo have been holding rallies and other public meetings under the guise of inspecting development projects in various parts of the country.
Last week, ECZ suspended the holding of political rallies to curb the spread of COVID-19, a move which has received divergent views from stakeholders.
‘It is a notorious fact that public schools, churches and bars are still very much open with members of the public mingling with each other at various gatherings such as funerals subject to observing the COVID 19 guildlines published by the relevant authorities,” she said.
Judge Mulanda in her ruling dismissed the application.
However, Judge Mulanda has granted judicial review to the UPND on having equal public media airtime.