12 September 2016
Zambia’s main opposition party, the United Party for National Development (UPND), said the Supreme Court had rejected its application to stop President Edgar Lungu’s inauguration, set for Tuesday.
Keith Mweemba, a lawyer to the opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, disclosed this to newsmen in Lusaka on Monday.
He said that the trial judge at the Lusaka High Court declined to grant the application on grounds that as a single judge, he had no jurisdiction.
Lungu’s inauguration after the August 11 election was postponed because Hichilema challenged the result in court, alleging that the vote was rigged.
A law introduced in January says the winner of a presidential vote cannot be sworn in if the victory is contested in court.
On Friday the court threw out an attempt by Hichilema to overturn a Constitutional Court’s decision not to give him more time to legally challenge Lungu’s re-election.
Mweemba said that his client planned to file another application before the full bench of the Supreme Court.
Zambia will press on with swearing in the president for another five-year term on Tuesday after he won 50.35 per cent of the vote, according to the official results.
Prospects for resuming critical budget support talks with the International Monetary Fund have been dimmed by delays in swearing in a new head of state.
Lungu has been the head of the ruling Patriotic Front since its leader, Michael Sata, died in 2014.
He won the presidency the following year, defeating Hichilema in their first electoral confrontation.