Zambia opposition boycotts parliament opening

United Party for National Development MPs say President Edgar Lungu is not legitimate

Zambia opposition boycotts parliament opening

World Bulletin / News Desk

All 58 members of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) boycotted Friday the official opening of the parliament by President Edgar Lungu, calling him "illegitimate".

In a joint communiqué, the parliamentarians said they could not attend the official opening of the National Assembly because they do not acknowledge the declaration of Lungu as the winner of August 11 presidential election. 

"It was upon this declaration [by the Electoral Commission] that President Lungu was inaugurated September 13. As far as we are concerned, President Lungu is not the legitimate president of Zambia.

"Against this background, we could not attend the official opening of the National Assembly, which was to be addressed by an illegitimate president," the MPs said.

   According to the communiqué, the parliamentarians will continue to consider Lungu an illegitimate president until the court declare otherwise after the full hearing and conclusion of the presidential petition. 

   The MPs further argued that when the presidential petition was dismissed Sept. 5 due to time lapse and lack of prosecution, the Constitutional Court did not declare Lungu winner. 

   "In the absence of the declaration by the Court, President Lungu could not be inaugurated as legitimate president of Zambia." 

   The parliamentarians alleged that the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) pressured the Court to dismiss the petition without hearing the evidence showing that the election was rigged. 

   "Until the full hearing of the presidential petition takes place, President Lungu will be occupying the Office of the President illegally," they said. 

    The parliamentarians also decried the "inhumane" treatment supporters of the opposition party are receiving from the police since the disputed election about a month ago. 

    "About 3000 members of the party have been charged and arrested. We have information that the executives have instructed the courts to deny them bail. This is against human rights," the parliamentarians said.  

    "We cannot therefore sit and listen to President Lungu addressing the National Assembly while the opposition supporters are suffering in prison." 

    Last week, UPND President Hakainde Hichilema demanded the release of all jailed members of his party, but the government remained defiant.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Eylül 2016, 17:08