By Charles Mwenda
The Constitutional Court has this morning ruled that councillors who tender in notices of resignation cannot retract them.
This is in a matter in which Governance Activist, Isaac Mwanza, had sued the Electoral Commission of Zambia and the Attorney General over the failure to conduct by/elections in wards where councillors had resigned but later rescinded their decisions.
Mr Mwanza had argued that the ECZ had engaged in double standards in the implementation of the Constitutional provision by conducting a by-election in Sinda District when a UPND councillor had resigned but retracted the resignation while refusing to conduct by-elections in other areas.
Delivering the Judgement on behalf the Court, Judge Palan Mulonda said the rescission of a councillor’s decision to resign is a substantive issue.
The Court said the absence of express provision being made in the Constitution to that effect entails that a Councillor has no option to rescind the decision to resign within the 30 days notice period.
The Court has, however, determined that the resignation of a councillor takes effect at the end of the notice period of 30 days.
“In concluding, as Article 157(2)(b) of the Constitution does not provide for rescission of a councillor’s notice of resignation before the lapse of the notice period of 30 days, the second and third question put to us become otiose,” said the Court.
And Mr. Mwanza has welcomed the decision by the Court as sound.
“We shall now engage the Attorney General to ensure that those councillors who had resigned but purported to have withdrawn their resignations vacate their seats forthwith and repay any monies they could have collected from Councils and Government,” Mr Mwanza said.