‘Felix Mutati duly elected’

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THE Supreme Court has declared MMD’s Felix Mutati as the duly elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Lunte Constituency, saying he did not engage in any form of electoral malpractice.
Delivering judgment on behalf of other judges, who included outgoing acting deputy Chief Justice Florence Mumba, Supreme Court Judge Mervin Mwanamwambwa dismissed all eight grounds of appeal by Patriotic Front (PF) losing candidate, Emmanuel Chilubanama, for lack of merit.
The other judges were Gregory Phiri, Munyinda Wanki, and Elizabeth Muyovwe.
Mr Justice Mwanamwambwa said that there was no truth in the allegations that Mr Mutati engaged in corruption, bribery and intimidation to woo the electorate to vote for him.
He said that then Ndola High Court Judge Munalula Lisimba could not be faulted in his findings that Mr Mutati was the duly elected MP for Lunte as they were based on the credibility of witnesses and evidence adduced before court.
Mr Chilubanama had among others, alleged that Mr Mutati had on September 15, 2011 donated desks to Kabwesha Community School in Lunte Constituency.
He had also asked the court to nullify Mr Mutati’s election on grounds that his wife, Grace Chipalo, a medical doctor specialised in eye treatment distributed medicine at James Mutati Village, in Lunte Constituency shortly before the September 20, 2011 general elections.
Mr Chilubanama had further alleged that Mr Mutati on September 14, 2011, distributed food to the electorate at Mukupa Kaoma Village and asked them to vote for the MMD.
Mr Chilubanama said the PF cadres were being intimidated by the MMD cadres who were in the habit of disrupting meetings.
But in upholding Mr Justice Lisimba’s judgment yesterday, Mr Justice Mwanamwambwa said that the panel did not find anything in Mr Chilubanama’s appeal evidence to warrant a reversal of the trial court’s findings.
He said that the allegations by Mr Chilubanama that Mr Mutati distributed desks to community schools  was not true as the same was part of an ongoing  Government project which had nothing to do with Mr Mutati as a candidate.
He said that the allegations that Mr Mutati distributed iron sheets to churches and schools in Lunte lacked merit because the donation was a philanthropic activity and did not amount to bribery.

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